This is a compliment to Gordon Duff’s story on A CHALLENGE TO "NEOCON" PTSD DENIALISTS Posted on July 10, 2009
Click on the PTSD Newsladder above for more articles and commentary on PTSD by 21st Century THINKERS.
Though when we in the Veterans and Military Family community discuss PTSD in terms of our troops and families that carry the burdens of war for the rest of the nation, PTSD as a recognized medical diagnosis was first brought to public attention by Vietnam War veterans. It wasn’t until the diagnosis was recognized by the Veterans Administration after Vietnam that its implications spread throughout the rest of American Society. The Armed Forces has led the way in technological advancements, and social reform sometimes way ahead of the rest of our society. PTSD is an example of how the stress of combat, family loss, wounds, and disabilities as a result of war blazed the way for a wide spread understanding of what causes PTSD. However myths still surround PTSD that do much to contribute to the stigma associated with PTSD.
We at VT News Network decided to do a series on PTSD using data and materials from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). However, there remains a Secret of NIMN, there has yet to be a definitive study or stand taken by NIMN on the impact of never ending deployments of the same people to combat zones leading to an aggravating PTSD.
ROBERT L. HANAFIN
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
Veterans Advocacy Editor
VT News Network
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental disorder that follows experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic, tragic, or terrifying event. People with PTSD usually have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to.
PTSD, once referred to as "shell shock" or battle fatigue, was first brought to public attention by war veterans, but it can result from any number of traumatic incidents. These include kidnapping, serious accidents such as car or train wrecks, natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, violent attacks such as a mugging, rape, or torture, or being held captive. The event that triggers it may be something that threatened the person’s life or the life of someone close to him or her. Or it could be something witnessed, such as mass destruction after a plane crash.
Most people with posttraumatic stress disorder repeatedly re-live the trauma in the form of nightmares and disturbing recollections during the day. The nightmares or recollections may come and go, and a person may be free of them for weeks at a time, and then experience them daily for no particular reason. They may also experience sleep problems, depression, feeling detached or numb, or being easily startled. They may lose interest in things they used to enjoy and have trouble feeling affectionate. They may feel irritable, more aggressive than before, or even violent. Seeing things that remind them of the incident may be very distressing, which could lead them to avoid certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the event are often very difficult.
PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood. The disorder can be accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or anxiety. Symptoms may be mild or severe — people may become easily irritated or have violent outbursts. In severe cases, they may have trouble working or socializing. In general, the symptoms seem to be worse if the event that triggered them was initiated by a person — such as a murder, as opposed to a flood.
Ordinary events can serve as reminders of the trauma and trigger flashbacks or intrusive images. A flashback may make the person lose touch with reality and reenact the event for a period of seconds or hours, or very rarely, days. A person having a flashback, which can come in the form of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, usually believes that the traumatic event is happening all over again.
Posttraumatic stress disorder can be treated, usually with a combination of psychotherapy and medications (for specific symptom relief, such as for the common accompanying depressive feelings). People with PTSD should seek out a therapist or psychologists with specific experience and background in treatment posttraumatic stress disorder.
- What Causes PTSD?
- Symptoms and Diagnosis of PTSD
- Differential Diagnosis of PTSD
- Who is Typically Diagnosed with PTSD?
- Treatment of PTSD
- Myths and Facts about PTSD
- Frequently Asked Questions about PTSD
- Associated Conditions of PTSD
- Two Stories of PTSD
- PTSD: A Roller Coaster Life
This article is based upon a brochure published by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 May 2008
The PTSD Workbook:
Simple Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms
By Mary Beth Williams & Soili Poijula
(New Harbinger Publications, 2002)
Circumstances force many veterans to deal with their PTSD alone. Some vets, especially Guard and Reserve, don’t live near VA clinics. Others won’t admit to others that they have a problem. Now, with so many stressed-out vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the current programs are being overwhelmed by the demand. These vets can help themselves using this workbook
In addition to PTSD, this workbook discusses Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), which describes problems during the first few days or weeks after a trauma, and "complex PTSD," for people who have experienced prolonged, repeated or extensive exposure to traumatic events. Although "complex PTSD" isn’t a recognized diagnosis yet, after doing the exercises veterans will see this distinction and appreciate the fact that half of the book addresses the symptoms of complex PTSD. The book is designed to be used by survivors of all types of trauma, so combat vets may be tempted to skip some of the exercises and chapters related to rape. Don’t! Uncle Sam’s true nature is revealed!
"The PTSD Workbook" helps vets to address their PTSD symptoms through a series of questions and exercises designed to reveal how the trauma changed us and how we can change ourselves. The exercises in the first half of the book help vets find the courage to begin self-therapy and motivate them to seek outside help if necessary. Some vets will be unable to do the exercises since many of them may be difficult or painful, but just making the effort may help the vet understand how severe their problems are and why therapy may be needed.