U.S. Army Spc. Justin Towe scans his area while on a mission with Iraqi army soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division in Al Muradia village, Iraq, March, 13, 2007. Towe is assigned to 4th Platoon, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway) (Released)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is a mental health problem that can be developed after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening or traumatic event. This type of disorder can provide long-lasting consequences and can oftentimes overwhelm a person’s ability to cope with the on-goings of their lives.


Now with PTSD, the mental health condition can develop at any age. Symptoms most often begin to appear within the first three months following the incident, but can present months or years after said-even. For many military veterans who have experience combat, PTSD has become a leading hurdle for their transition back into civilian life. Much of this alludes to the difficulty they have accepting and understanding their emotions. These American heroes feel detached from those around them, even their loved ones. As much as this can cause problems within their personal relationship, the situation can lead to further extreme measures such as psychological or behavioral problems on both the veteran and their family. In order to help a loved one, it is imperative that you recognize the signs of PTSD.


There are a number of symptoms and signs that can occur following exposure to a traumatic event. The symptoms will vary in severity based on the individual, their current mental state, and their supporting system. One of the symptoms can be the more persistent or invasive emotional signs that are connected to the precipitating trauma. These various actions can be reactions such as distress, nightmares, flashbacks, prolonged emotional distress, and other emotional trauma reactions that are often triggered by specific phrases or images that they experienced in combat. Now, on top of the emotional changes, there are specific avoidance symptoms many soldiers face when coming back home. These behaviors usually entail avoiding specific places, activities, conversations, or other things in order to evade and circumvent specific memories of trauma. Now, we cannot overlook the negative mood symptoms and the specific actions that can result from them. The inability to remember parts of a traumatic event, distorted thoughts, negative mood states, or inability to feel positive emotions can potentially lead to reckless and destructive behavior, self-harm, exaggerated startle response, and sleep problems.


Now when it comes to treating PTSD, it is important that the veteran or person talks about it. Self-coping is not necessarily recommended, especially for this level of diagnosis. The first step is to tell others how you feel. With the right treatment, you can get the necessary help needed to get you back on the path of success. Certain treatments are psychotherapy (oftentimes referred to as counseling) and medication.