Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder is a huge issue that is found in veterans who have served in the military and is caused by traumatic experiences they have gone through such as combat. Such trauma like this can then be triggered through memories or other senses. The disorder can not only affect these veterans and how they live their daily and social life by causing problems such as anger, avoidance, or depression, but it can also have a large impact on their family members and friends.

As a result of PTSD, it can lead to depression, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts and possible attempts, which can then lead to counseling, therapy or professional treatment being done to those who need help or are unmedicated.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD is a disorder that occurs to someone who is under mental or emotional stress which is caused by intense traumatic experiences or psychological shocks. The disorder is shown in a large number of veterans whether or not they were in combat. According to the National Institutes of Health, “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, as many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by traumatic or life-threatening events, some of which can be combat, someone near getting shot or killed, or if the army’s base was bombed. As reported by Halimi R., a psychiatrist in Regional Hosptial and Halimi H., a doctor in public health at the National Institute for Public Health, “Military personnel exposed to traumatic events are among the most at-risk populations for PTSD.” If a veteran wasn’t in action or was a medic in the army, that too can be traumatizing by seeing shot soldiers or those wounded badly and having the pressure of needing to save them. All of these events can trigger a veteran’s PTSD, symptoms may not always be the same for everyone, for some it can be depression, anger or even violence. According to the Government of Canada on Veterans Affair Canada, “environmental reminders (triggers) play a part in raising these intrusive memories by recalling an image, sound, smell or feeling that is associated with the original events” (2017), day to day factors can cause veterans to feel guilt, fear, or anger and get violent. Due to all the fear or guilt they may be feeling, veterans tend to avoid anything that may remind them of the traumatic experience. Even though symptoms may not always be so obvious, it is found in many veterans who have come back from war. A study conducted by Ramadan Halimi and Hidajete Halimi was held in order to evaluate the influence of PTSD and chances of suicidal ideation or risk veterans may be at.

The data used in the study was from a random sample of veterans chosen from all male member lists of the Kosovo Veterans Association where the average age was 43. The subjects were examined for social variables and more and were then compared to with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. Veterans with PTSD showed a high risk of suicide according to the study and an expert evaluation made, “DSM-IV TR criteria for PTSD were met by 113 (52.6%) of the 215 subjects.” (2017). It was found that the study conducted ended having multiple solutions, those of which were war veterans with PTSD and other disorders are found to have a higher predictable suicide risk. Socioeconomic issues, unemployment or filing for divorce are factors that can worsening problems such as creating depression, therefore having an impact on suicidal behavior and attempts. There are many factors in a veteran’s daily life that can trigger their symptoms which can cause them to get depression, violent and increase suicidal risks.

Although it may seem as if veterans are only affected by PTSD, friends and family can also be affected by this. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD may have it worse if they have a family or if they are married, with the pressure of being in a family, taking care of children, the disorder may be harder to deal with. “…divorce rates amongst veterans with PTSD are two times higher than those who do not suffer from the issue.” (Weisenhorn, Frey, Van de Venne, Cerel, 2017).

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