Only a skilled and competent medical doctor specializing in psychiatry or a therapist trained in PTSD can definitively tell you if you suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Any type of traumatic event can cause a person to suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress, although PTSD is prevalent among those who experience military combat. Rape, sexual molestation in childhood, a physical assault, witnessing a homicide or suicide, being a victim of a mass shooting or domestic violence, losing someone close to you and numerous other events can bring about PTSD. The symptoms are similar, no matter what incident caused the condition.
If, since returning from a combat deployment and sometimes many years after returning, you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you have some symptoms of PTSD:
- Do you have prolonged memories of combat?
- Do you dream about the country in which you saw combat?
- Do you have nightmares or flashbacks?
- Do you suffer from bouts of insomnia?
- Do you ever seem to shut out the world?
- Do you often feel drained of emotions or just numb?
- Do you avoid things that remind you of combat experience?
- Do you find that the anniversary dates of certain events in your combat experience make you feel uncomfortable?
- Do you find it hard to make and keep friends?
- Have you had multiple marriages?
- Is your current marriage strained?
- Have you abused alcohol or drugs to help you feel better?
- Do you have no plans for the future or could you not care less about the future?
- Are you irritable and prone to unexplained outbursts of anger?
- Are you jumpy or over-reactive to things that fail to startle others?
Most people experience one or more of these symptoms in the normal course of life. However, the more of these symptoms you have on a recurring basis, the more likely it is that you have PTSD. Wives of veterans can also suffer from PTSD if they have been a caregiver to their husbands who struggle with it.
Preparing combatants psychologically for war is antithetical to helping them recover from its psychological trauma. To expect otherwise places an unreasonable expectation on our military. The military has made an extensive effort to help its personnel adjust to the stress of combat. However, in the environment of a professional army, many active-duty personnel view psychiatric treatment as an admission of weakness or failure.
Left untreated, PTSD only becomes more engrained and less responsive to treatment. Failed relationships, career and employment problems, substance abuse, depression, suicide, homicide and other acts of violence can be the end result of untreated PTSD.