Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) directly affects nearly 8 million Americans, and is common amongst veterans, Huffington Post reports.
Despite its commonality, the disorder is misunderstood and stigmatized. Raising awareness and better educating the general public on post-traumatic stress is important to help those suffering get better treatment.
While anyone can get PTSD, it is often associated with veterans who served in combat. PTSD rates are significant within the veteran demographic. Roughly 31 percent of Vietnam War vets and 20 percent of Iraq vets battle PTSD.
Below are five things veterans want you to know about PTSD:
- You probably don’t know what veterans have endured.
Combat is something very few people will go through, and thus is something most of us cannot understand.
“There is a disconnection between everything human and what has to be done in combat,” a veteran named Scott Lee wrote in 2008. “Imagine being in an unimaginable situation and having to do the unthinkable.”
Despite combat being difficult to understand, therapists can still help veterans treat their PTSD symptoms. Please do not hesitate to seek help.
- You might not recognize PTSD when you see it.
Each person with PTSD has his or her own unique triggers and the stress can manifest in different ways. It is common for people to not recognize that they are experiencing PTSD, or for others to notice it.
- PTSD is silent.
Often people with PTSD do not want to talk about their struggles and instead try to act like everything is okay. Amongst veterans, it is common to feel like someone else had it worse so they should just try to ‘get over it’ on their own.
- Violence and PTSD do not go hand-in hand.
Part of the stigma against PTSD is that it makes you violent. In reality, the rate of violence amongst people with PTSD is only slightly higher than the rate of violence within the general population.
- Treatment can help, and you can recover.
PTSD is treatable. Lifestyle changes, medication, therapy, etc. are all methods people with PTSD use to alleviate their symptoms.