The US Department of Veterans Affairs tell us 22 veterans commit suicide every day. They also claim a big part of the blame for some many untimely deaths caused by intentional acts on the part of the person ending their life is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a continuing effort to serve the Vietnam Veteran community we will review aspects of the condition of PTSD in this episode. There was an excellent and informative article in the Metro News of Toronto, Canada titled: A closer look at the devastating toll of post-traumatic stress disorder that offers insight into the devastating psychological state of affairs. Hopefully a review of this article will provide some helpful information in dealing with the situation.
The story points out that PTSD is nothing new. There are historical references to frightening battle dreams by warriors dating back to 400 B.C. Down through the years other tags have been attached to the condition. In the Late 1800s the term “soldier’s heart” was used, later in 1905 the Russians used the term “battle shock” for its soldiers in the Russo-Japanese War. “Shell shock” was used in World War I and that morphed to “combat exhaustion” in World War II. Initially after the War in Vietnam it was called the “post-Vietnam syndrome.”
Whatever it was called it had the same symptoms. They are:
- A deep sense of helplessness
- Panic attacks
- Anger outbursts
- Problems at home or work
- Abnormal fear
- Feelings of devastation or numbness
- Flashbacks from the event
- Aversion to social contact
- Avoidance of situations that might trigger memories of the event
According to the PTSD Association of Canada, the sooner a person experiencing any of these symptoms seeks help the easier it is to cure PTSD and it can be done.