What Veterans Want Others to Understand About PTSD

For many people, Veteran’s Day is a time to show appreciation to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country. This past Veteran’s Day, however, there are many U.S. citizens who are concerned about the lack of respect that the new president has for war veterans, since he suggested that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an indication of weakness.


Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions about PTSD that are commonly shared and believed. Around 8 million Americans, 31 percent of Vietnam veterans and 20 percent of Iraq veterans, have PTSD, which means the rates of the condition are higher than ever before.


Here are common myths about PTSD that need to b dispelled in order to see veterans for the true heroes they are.


People With PTSD Are Violent


According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the tendency to act violently is only slightly higher in veterans than the general population. This dispels the myth that PTSD causes overly aggressive behavior. Yes, some veterans commit violent acts and are unable to control the chemical imbalance they experience, but this is largely due to other factors in combination with PTSD, such as bipolar disorder or severe depression.


Some Symptoms Aren’t Obvious


Panic attacks, fear of being in small spaces and an aversion to being in crowds can all be signs of PTSD, but these are easily recognized as such. Some PTSD sufferers will become more quiet and withdrawn than they were before as a result of going to war, and it’s important for employers, loved ones and friends to understand this and help the veteran(s) in their lives look for healthy solutions.


It Is Possible to Recover


Finally, veterans want people to understand that PTSD is not an incurable condition. It can be treated with activities that calm the mind and nervous system, such as meditation or yoga. Medications that are used to treat depression and anxiety are also used to treat some veterans with PTSD. Being surrounded by supportive friends and family can also help veterans to feel secure enough to share their feelings and will lessen their tendency to become overly angry or isolated.


For more information on how to recognize and treat PTSD, check out this Huffington Post article.

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