Over the years, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been called soldier’s heart, shell shock, combat fatigue or war neurosis. In 1980, the term PTSD became more widely recognized when it was added to the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). And this diagnosis has further evolved in subsequent editions of the DSM as research has increased our understanding of the disorder.
The National Center for PTSD estimates that 6% of the U.S. population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Specific to veterans, research from the National Center for PTSD shows:
- An estimated 11-20% who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience PTSD in a given year.
- Approximately 12% of Gulf War veterans experience PTSD in a given year.
- An estimated 30% of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
- More than 20% of veterans with PTSD struggle with substance abuse.
- Roughly 80% of veterans with PTSD meet criteria for at least one other mental illness.
Common signs of PTSD include:
- Re-experiencing trauma via nightmares or flashbacks
- Sleep issues
- Difficulties with relationships
- Sudden anger
- Substance abuse
- Avoidance of reminders about the trauma
Click here for a detailed description of the PTSD criteria in the DSM.
Without treatment, PTSD can wreak havoc in the life of the sufferer (and among his or her loved ones). However, a number of well-researched trauma-based treatment options are available to help people struggling with this disorder improve their well-being and quality of life. Some of the evidence-based PTSD treatments include:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) facilitates healing through bilateral stimulation and enables re-experiencing the trauma in the context of the safe environment of the therapist’s office. (Learn more about EMDR at Travco here.)
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy enables individuals to gradually approach trauma-related feelings with the objective of learning that memories and cues are not dangerous.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy helps individuals learn to restructure unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma.
Additionally, countless resources are available specific to veterans struggling with PTSD, such as
If you or a loved one are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, Travco Behavioral Health can help. Contact us today!