Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

During a traumatic event, people think that their life or the lives of others are in danger. They may feel afraid or feel that they have no control over what is happening. These feelings of lack of control and fear can balloon into confusion, challenges with memory, or intense emotion.

Combat-related PTSD has existed as long as war itself. The condition was called “soldier’s heart” in the Civil War, “shell shock” in World War I, and “Combat fatigue” in World War II. Despite the fact that the condition has been around for thousands of years, it is sometimes still difficult, or controversial, to diagnose.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person has been through a traumatic event. These events can include:

  • Natural disasters
  • Car crashes
  • Sexual or physical assaults
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Combat during wartime

PTSD Signs & Symptoms:

  • Having recurrent nightmares
  • Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a “flashback”
  • Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, to reminders of the traumatic event
  • Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger
  • Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner
  • Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event
  • A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities
  • Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love

Here are some strategies to help with PTSD:

  • Find a therapist.
  • Join a support group or other support services.
  • Find a peer mentor.
  • Meditate.

Sometimes PTSD can lead to unhealthy behavior like substance abuse or taking unnecessary risks. Sharing your experiences, feelings, and fears with others, whether with friends, family, or a professional, can lessen the burden.


Resources for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Non-profit dedicated to those who suffer from & those at risk for PTSD as well as those who care for traumatized individuals.

Dedicated to research & education on trauma & PTSD

Connections between the experience of a traumatic event, PTSD & suicide risk.

View this 2012 lecture by Camillo Zacchia published by the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

Discover this Canadian government Parliamentary Information & Research Service paper. Downloadable PDF

UK outreach programme helps veterans struggling to reintegrate into a normal work & family life.

An association of advocacy & professional organizations for individuals suffering from PTSD

YouTube Video helping one to understand PTSD

An online guided self-help intervention for couples, to improve PTSD & enhance relationships.

A reintegration site for veterans & their families.

Getting Treatment

As with depression or anxiety, getting the right treatment for PTSD depends a great deal on the individual. Sometimes counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective. Additionally, medicines known as SSRIs can help, too. Sometimes a combination of both therapies proves successful. Treatment can help people with PTSD feel more in control of their emotions and result in fewer symptoms, but some symptoms like bad memories or super-sensitivity to sounds and lights may linger.