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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- A Growing Problem Among America's Veterans

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is a serious mental disorder that should never be ignored. It is a type of anxiety disorder experienced by someone who has had a traumatic event occur in their lives. It can be triggered as a result of being a victim of violence, losing a loved one through violence, or suffering a horrible accident. It can happen to anyone. But veterans returning from war are the ones most affected by PTSD.

Veterans and PTSD

According to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, one military veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes due to PTSD. This is a shocking fact that most people are unaware of. One in five military veterans deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. The suicide rate among military veterans is now at 22 a day. Almost a third of these suicides are committed by veterans age 49 or younger. Data from the military shows that there are now more suicides among active duty soldiers than there are combat deaths.

What's behind PTSD among veterans

According to Dr. Shira Maguen, a staff psychologist at the San Francisco Veteran Affairs (VA) Medical Center, soldiers face constant threats against their lives every day after deployment. Although they are trained to kill, it takes an emotional toll because killing is not a natural act. Many veterans push the memories out of the way and may not feel the effects of PTSD until they return home.


Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, irritability and anger. They may experience great difficulty with relationships and functioning at home or work, and be detached emotionally. They may be unable to rid themselves of the feeling of being threatened, even though they are no longer in combat.

Where to get help

VA hospitals can provide help for veterans who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD. But less than half seek help because they feel it is a sign of weakness. But the VA encourages veterans to seek help. In fact they have a crisis line and website for veterans.

If you are a veteran suffering from PTSD, seek help NOW at
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