PTSD does not just affect military personnel, but it is extremely prevalent in those who have served during times of war. It is not ‘exhaustion’ nor is it ‘crazy’ nor is it ‘in the person’s head’. it is a very serious disorder that can affect a person and their loved ones for the rest of their life if they don’t get help… the best thing you can do is talk about it.
I was diagnosed with PTSD in March of 2009 because I watched my fiance die of a heart attack. For three years I suffered with depression and anxiety from this experience and because I didn’t seek help it only got worse. Please, if you have any one who has experienced a traumatic experience pass this information on to them.
For those of you who want a little more information about PTSD and the very serious side effects: *1
Section III. DEFINITIONS
01-06. American Psychiatric Definition. The following is a quote, references to children excluded, from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994, section 309.81, beginning on page 427. All supplemental information, in parenthesis and bold, is from The Post-Traumatic Gazette, edited by Mrs. Patience Mason:
This disorder is described as occurring when:
“A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self (i.e. combat, friendly fire, being mortared or rocketed, wounded, captured, driving a truck on a mined road, flying in a helicopter that was shot at, jumping our of a helicopter into a hot LT) or others (if you had a buddy who was wounded or lost squad members, family member, or seeing anyone who has recently been killed or injured such as being a medic or nurse on a trauma ward, body bagging, seeing someone you didn’t know killed, seeing kids, women or other Americans or civilians who had been killed, or wounded, etc.)
(2) the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror.”
According to the DSM-IV, “
B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperinced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions.
(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event.
(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated).
(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least three (or more) of the following:
(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma (If you try not to think about the war or if you try not to feel love because you lost a beloved buddy, try never to feel guilt because you think you fucked up over there, try never to be happy because you were ambushed when you were feeling fine, trying never to get angry because you’re afraid of what you might do)
(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma (never watch war movies, don’t hunt, don’t go to veterans day parades or associate with other vets, can’t stand authority figures because of the REMF’s or the lifers, etc.)
(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma (particular battles or periods of time that you can’t remember or whether those guys were killed or just wounded)
(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities (what did you used to do that you don’t since your PTSD came on? Lots of guys with PTSD stay home watching TV which is this symptom. Others still get out but they’ve given up hunting, or going places where there are crowds or whatever)
(5) feelings of detachment or estrangement from others (No one can understand what it’s like. I’m on the outside looking in at all these people who haven’t a clue. I don’t care about things or people the way I used to)
(6) restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings) (unable to cry when parent dies or kid dies, told you have no feelings, can’t feel love for wife, etc.)
(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or even a long life span).” (may be still driving drunk or stoned, still jumping out of airplanes or taking other risks, afraid to commit to anyone or anything, etc.)
The Diagnostic criteria in section 309.81, DSM-IV, goes on the state:
“D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as
indicated by two (or more) of the following:
(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep;
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger;
(3) difficulty concentrating (Read a page and can’t remember it? Forget what your wife just told you or constantly hear “I told you that yesterday!” Feel dumb because you don’t follow a lot of conversations, etc., or just can’t focus because part of you is scanning for danger all the time?)
(4) hypervigilance (always looking for danger, worrying about people getting hurt, still looking for tripwires and sitting with your back to the wall, avoiding crowds, etc.)
(5) exaggerated startle response (hit the dirt at the sound of a backfire, can’t be touched when asleep, etc.)
E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than 1 month.
F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is 3 months or more
With Delayed Onset: if onset of symptoms is at lease 6 months after the stresssor”
*1. (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth Edition. Copyright 1994 American Psychiatric Association.)
Experiencing any or all of these symptoms does not mean you are “crazy,” but that you are suffering the normal effects of trauma brought on by an abnormal event.