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PTSD Symptoms and Treatment

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PTSD Statistics

The PTSD Foundation of America reports statistics that state one in three troops that are returning from Afghanistan or battle in the middle east will have PTSD, and the sad part is that only 40 percent will seek help. The sad daily statistics state that an average of five soldiers will attempt suicide daily.

According to the foundation the definition of PTSD is: "PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood."

The percentage of people that will experience PTSD at some point in their life is 7.8, and this includes men and women.

It is not the PTSD that causes a suicide, but it is the depression. According to a new VA study, there is an average of 20 veterans committing suicide each day. As of 2014, 7,400 veterans took their own lives. This includes active service members and the national guard.

In addition, two out of three marriages are failing, which equals 200,000 military marriages. Homeless veterans are also increasing. Male veterans report more problems in marriages, relationships and parenting.

This is so tragic, that words fail me. These men have served their country, like so many generations before them, so we can be free and enjoy our way of life.

Some Causes of PTSD

PTSD can occur when a person has been in a position to kill others, see friends killed or been the victim of abuse or traumatic crimes, such as rape. The two components that cause PTSD are having survived an extremely stressful situation, and reacted with an intense emotional reaction.

PTSD can have a life of its own, which differentiates in from anxiety disorders. Many suffer from “survivor’s guilt.” The symptoms include, at least briefly, a time where the individual believes that she or he is back in the middle of the trauma. Nightmares are common and sometimes the person is unable to focus on what is being said to them.


News Military

News Military

Common PTSD Symptoms

Other common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Apathy or lack of interest
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Sleep disturbance (lack of sleep or oversleeping)
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability

PTSD Symptoms And Signs

Treatment for PTSD

The most powerful treatment for PTSD is not medication, but cognitive behavioral treatments. Treatment can be difficult and sometimes prolonged.

  • In cognitive Exposure Therapy, prolonged exposure is one such treatment where the individual is re-exposed to the trauma, but in a safe setting in a therapist’s office.
  • Cognitive-Processing Therapy (CPT) is typically lasts 12 weeks and is combination of cognitive therapy and exposure therapy.
  • Stress-Inoculation Training (SIT) is to help a patient gain confidence to gain confidence to be able to cope with their anxiety and fear. Each of these cognitive therapies have been shown to help people with PYSD.

Another strategy is psychic numbing, which is supposed to shut down the emotional capacity to the person cannot feel upset, terrified or afraid. Unfortunately, this also shuts down the capacity to feel love, pleasure and that is why some marriages fail.

Service Dog

K9 Service Dogs

K9 Service Dogs

Therapy Using Dogs

The government is not doing enough for these men, but fortunately there are several organizations that are working to make a difference. One of the newer organizations is approaching the problem a bit differently. They use animals, specifically dogs, to help vets suffering from PTSD.

This group has a staff of men and women from numerous backgrounds, but they all share a love of animals. They train these dogs to sense the mood of their owner and respond appropriately. When a soldier is sinking into depression, the dog will jump up and lick their face just get close to them.

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I saw two of the soldiers that had suffered through a very difficult time with PTSD; one had even turned to drugs. They each had a different type of dog and talked about the big difference the dog had made in their lives. One stated, “He gets me out of the house to go for a walk, and that cheers me up. He is always happy to see me, wagging his tails and being by my side.”

This organization teaches the dog owners how to properly care for their pets, and they have already seen a change in many of the owners. They will talk to any vet that calls them with the purpose of saving lives and helping. This organization needs funds as all of them do to continuing doing their good work.

A Possible New Treatment for PTSD

Organizations to help

There are organizations that are attempting to help. Contact your health care professional. There is a National Center for PTSD, and check out the Vet Center Readjustment services. Call the Vietnam Vets, VFW or American Legion for soldier support. The Wounded Warrior Project and the Disabled American Veterans are other organizations that work hard to help vets. The main point is to get help if you have PTSD symptoms.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 11, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

I hope they receive that help also, Thanks for your comments, Peggy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2020:

This is so sad and is still happening today with our military forces, veterans, and other people suffering from traumatic events. Our current pandemic is likely to have even more people suffering from PTSD. I pray that they all get the much needed help that they need in order to cope.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 16, 2013:

Jaye, I agree and I think that's why we see so many Vietnam vets that are homeless and alcoholics as not only did th there was no treatment for PTSD. We do need to increase the level of awareness. Behavioral therapy, the dogs and the support groups are all important steps in the recovery of the suffering vet. I appreciate your comment so much.

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on October 16, 2013:

When relatives and other familiars returned from wars with these symptoms, their condition was commonly called "shell shocked." They never recovered. One relative from the Vietnam War had PTSD and was not successful with jobs, wife and children, and relationships with other family members. He worked but move from job to job due to behavioral difficulty. He soon resorted to drugs.

About ten years ago, he made great effort to turn his life around when he discovered that he had a terminal illness. He could not quite get it right, but he impressed his children and other family so much with the effort that they considered him to be finally recovered. In plain words, "good enough." We do not remember him by focusing on his years of struggle; rather, we mostly enjoy the memories of the final ten years when he earnestly worked to reunite with his children and other immediate family.

Can the armed services really deprogram these soldiers to prevent PTSD? Unless I have been watching too many war movies, I thought that was possible.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 16, 2013:

moonlake, Moonlike, It seems so many young men are going through PTSD when they return from Afghanistan or another violent country. I know there are many programs offered to help these men, including some support groups. It takes time and it's hard for loved ones to watch their child suffer. I sure hope he will get well. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on October 16, 2013:

This is an excellent hub, and I salute you for writing it. PTSD is a dreadful disorder that was surely prevalent in veterans from earlier wars (such as WWI and WWII), only there was no formal name for it other than "shell shock." Nor was there any adequate treatment. Many veterans from those wars turned to alcohol (self-medication) in an attempt to escape their thoughts.

It is wonderful that treatment exists in this era to help veterans and other individuals who suffer from PTSD following emotional trauma. Thanks for raising awareness of PTSD and potential treatments, including behavioral therapy and therapy dogs.

Voted Up+++ and shared


moonlake from America on October 16, 2013:

My nephew is going through this right now. His parents are trying to get him help if he will take it. He removed bodies from the battlefield I think that would affect anyone. Voted up on your hub and shared.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2013:

Patricia, That is a horribly sad story. So many vets suffer. My step-daughter is probably going to get engaged to someone who had been suggering from PTSD for about 7 years already and I am worried about her happiness also. I don't see him making much progress. I pray for all of them. I appreciate your comments. Thanks for the angels angels again and more sent to you also. God bless.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 31, 2013:

O, Pamela,

Thank you for sharing this important topic. One of my very best friends was a medic in Vietnam and when he came back he was a mess. I do not believe PTSD was a diagnosis at that time.

He cried uncontrollably and was extremely depressed. After three years at home, he took his life. It was devastating...

Angels are on the way to you and to all who suffer with this very real disorder. ps

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2013:

Audry, I know someone who has both of those symtoms also. It is really sad as the people with PTSD strugglle so much to have any kind of normal life. Thank you so much for your comments.

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 30, 2013:

Hi Pamela. Great article about PTSD. You have so much knowledge to share on this site. I have known several people with the disorder. One has panic attacks along with the stress syndrome. I am glad you are back with us and ready to help us understand PTSD. Keep up the good work and stay healthy. Audrey

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 30, 2013:

drbj, I was really glad to learn about the service dogs. PTSD is such a tough problem and what works for one may not work for another. I think we still have much to learn. Thank you so much for your comments.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on May 30, 2013:

You perform a public service, Pamela, when you help your readers understand what PTSD is and the treatments that may alleviate it. Service dogs provide a needed therapy for veterans suffering from this ailment.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 29, 2013:

Terry, I agree that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and that in itself is sad. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 29, 2013:

Terry, I agree that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and that in itself is sad. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and appreciate your comments.

Mary Craig from New York on May 29, 2013:

How sad it is that this hub even needs to be written, but it does. Many misunderstand PTSD and therefore misunderstand those suffering with it. This hub is enlightening in the explanations of PTSD and it's treatments.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

b. Malin, I agree they do deserve so much more than they have received. I know of someone in particular that is using medication tha is only working to some degree. I think I will probably will study the clinical research to write another hub more focused on the various treatments. Thank you for your comments.

teresapelka, You make a good point. I did not research all of possible cures as that was not the whole foucus of the hub. I think I may do that in the near future. I thought the dog therapy was unique, and it has been proven helpful, but not necessarily a cure. Thanks for your comments.

Teresa Pelka from Dublin, Ireland on May 28, 2013:


I do not know what you have taken for my input, saying

"tereapelka, I think vitamins are helpful in many ways. I think it takes more than vitamins to cure

PTSDF. I know of some who are really suffering from this problem and I do think cognitive therapy helps, as well as, a great desire to get well. I think your links are very helpful and I appreciate your input."

As for people with PTSD, not PTSDF, if you do not nourish your nervous system after a stressful occasion, it will go down on own powers like in a spiral. Whatever you think about clapping hands or kissing dogs, you never recover, if you don't supplement your neurons.

b. Malin on May 28, 2013:

Hi Pamela,

What a Wonderful Heartfelt Hub, so well written and researched. Our Men & Woman, in Uniform deserve so much more then they get for the Service that they provide for our Country. I had heard of using Pets to help, as well as Medication. Hopefully as the public is made aware, things will change, only time will tell.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

Pinto, I am g;ad you enjoyed the article and I appreciate your comments.

Jim, I it a huge problem, Thanks for your comments.

Gail, I find in heart breaking also. I aappreciate your remarks.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on May 28, 2013:

My heart aches that so many young men and their families are now affected by PTSD.

This is a good article addressing symptoms, treatments and cure, plus bringing awarenesss to some of the organizations that want to help veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Am voting this up, useful and interesting.

The Frog Prince from Arlington, TX on May 28, 2013:

An absolutely well written, well researched Hub. This is a huge problem in our society which has a tendency to ruin lives and may result in suicide. Great work.


Subhas from New Delhi, India on May 28, 2013:

Hi Pamela! Being in the medical field, I have encountered patients with PTSD. This is the first time I came to know about pet therapy through your writings and you have really elaborated it very well.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

Midget, I was so happy to see that they were using dogs as I agree with you. Thanks so much for your comments and the share.

Sue, I'm glad you found the hub informative ,and I appreciate your comments.

Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on May 28, 2013:

Excellent, informative article Pamela. Voted up and interesting and shared with my followers

Michelle Liew from Singapore on May 28, 2013:

The emotional healing a little dog can provide neglected victims of trauma is immeasurable. An important write I will share.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

Dianne, I thought the therapy with the dogs was very interesting. I think we all knew they used dogs on the battlefield, with police work and for the blind, but I had never heard of using them for PTSD. Thanks for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

Maria, I am so glad to hear a postive story about Cognitve therapy. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I am so concerned about my step-daughter's financee as he has been home from war for a few years, but still suffers from PTSD. I would like to know what type of therapy he is using, but as they live out of state I don't want to pry at this point. I'm glad to hear about your dog also. I appreciate your comments as always. {{Hugs.}}

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

lambservant, Thank you so much for your sharing your personal experience and I think reading one of Bridgett Cantrell's books would be very informative. You explained the feeling associated with this disorder very well. Thank you so much for your commetns.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2013:

Audry, I focused more on symptoms and some organizations that help these people. I don't mind you mentioning EMDR and I wish I had at least mentioned EMDR. I didn't focus that much on each treatement actually. I may write an article just on treatment as that is a good idea. I wanted to make sure the symptoms were all listed and the organizations where people can get help. I loved the dog therapy. I appreciate your comments,

Dianna Mendez on May 27, 2013:

Very interesting. I imagine there are many who didn't know this had a treatment or therapy.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 27, 2013:

Dear Pam,

A factual and compassionate piece on something I know about from first hand experience.

I totally agree with the Cognitive Therapies. I had several treatments of EMDR with amazing results. It took me awhile to build the trust in my therapist for him to explain and do.

But without a doubt, my dog was and still is my best therapist ever.

Excellent...Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

Lori Colbo from United States on May 27, 2013:

I interviewed a woman named Bridgett Cantrell who works with vets and active duty troops who have PTSD and their families. She's written several books and is a featured guest on news shows. She talked a lot about what the soldier goes through when they come home after combat. Their spouses and other family members expect they will just pick up where they left off and because they are being reunited after a time away that they will have a fresh excitement at being together again. The soldier on the other hand, will never be the same. He/she is not the same person they were when they left, even if they don't have PTSD. They are often moody, angry, or withdrawn, especially if they know they are going to be redeployed. Why get comfy with the family when you know you're going back soon and risk being more hurt by leaving again. So they put up a wall. Sometimes the soldier feels guilty that he came home leaving others behind to fend for themselves, or because they comrades died and he didn't. Very enlightening interview and I read one of the books. My son has military PTSD and it has not gone well for him. My heart hurts for him.

One thing Bridget Cantrell said that made me pause was "PTSD is not a mental illness, it's something that happened to you." Food for thought.

Great hub. I especially like the part about service dogs.

Audrey Howitt from California on May 27, 2013:

Good article Pamela--but no discussion about EMDR? Cognitive doesn't often get to the deeper portions of the brain where trauma is stored--I realize that mine is just an opinion--so sorry if I have overstepped--

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2013:

Billy, I hate the thought of so many suffering and not knowing the way to get past it. I think the dog idea is a good one. Thanks so much for your comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2013:

A friend of mine just received his service dog and he says it is making a huge difference in his life.

Wonderful hub raising awareness about these symptoms. We must do more for those who have suffered so.

Thank you for writing about this, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2013:

tereapelka, I think vitamins are helpful in many ways. I think it takes more than vitamins to cure

PTSDF. I know of some who are really suffering from this problem and I do think cognitive therapy helps, as well as, a great desire to get well. I think your links are very helpful and I appreciate your input.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2013:

Faith, I am glad you found this hub helpful, especially after living with someone who had such a bad case of PRSD. You can certainly link it to yours. I imagine the horrors of war are more than I can imaginet. Thank you so much for your comments. God bless.

Teresa Pelka from Dublin, Ireland on May 27, 2013:

Well, stress would be viewed as either to be medicated, or for the guy to have a nice experience with dogs, dolphins, or other animals.

Stress is an expenditure on the nervous system. More or less, everyone knows that the nervous system needs to keep its chemical and electric balance to work. The balance gets threatened with stress.

Vitamins and minerals are vital to recover from stress physiologically. Especially potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B become abused with stress.

The animal thing about NaKTPase in Wikipedia is strange, by the way


Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 27, 2013:

Oh, wow, I wished my family knew of these treatments or if they even had them back when my dad suffered with PTSD. When one's loved one suffers with such, the whole family suffers no doubt! I remember listening as a child to my dad suffering in the middle of the night with PTSD and his reliving the horrors of war. I remember having to cover my ears just to not hear of such horrors. I would love to link this hub to my hub, A Soldier's Child, as that is what my hub is about my father and me, as a child, suffering from my dad having PTSD.

Excellent write here. Voted up +++++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper

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