I first want to briefly explain what PTSD is and the effects it can have on one’s daily quality of life. Many people experience this very debilitating condition and suffer in varying degrees. The onset of PTSD usually coincides with having witnessed a very traumatic event or having a life threatening event happen to them. These stressful events can take on many different facets including; witnessing people being killed or injured, being physically harmed yourself, childhood trauma, and many other possible incidents.
The symptoms related to PTSD can vary from person to person and can also take many years to manifest. Symptoms that generally occur involve flashbacks, night terrors, frightening thoughts, sleeplessness, feeling numb, anger, irritability, anxiety, and many others. These symptoms can be very debilitating and cause one to have a feeling of not being in control. People will also often try and medicate themselves by drinking too much, doing drugs, and engaging in other addictive and unhealthy behaviors.
A recent study done by RAND cites these startling facts about PTSD:
- there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million “Vietnam Era Veterans” (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
- At least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%
- 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
- out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment
It is important to note the figure that states that 50% of people with PTSD do not seek treatment. I believe that one of the reasons this number is so high is because PTSD is not a physical ailment and it is something that people can suffer with silently. I also think people especially those who have been in the military can see it as a weakness to suffer from such a disease and may be embarrassed about their struggle with PTSD.
The goal of every person suffering from PTSD should be to seek treatment options and realize that they do not need to suffer alone and that they are not alone in their suffering. Here is a link for a test that can be used to see if you are suffering from PTSD. https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/anonymous.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=mentalHealth&contentPage=mh_screening_tools/PTSD_SCREENING.HTML
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