Understanding the Issues
About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma but if the reactions don't go away over time or disrupt the person’s life, they may have PTSD.
People with PTSD may re-experience symptoms of the traumatic event, avoid situations that remind them of the event, feel numb, or experience hyperarousal.
Experts believe PTSD occurs in:
- 11-20% of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom
- 10% of Desert Storm veterans
- 30% of Vietnam veterans
Exclusions When compiling statistical data on the number of service members battling PTSD, researchers and other professionals are limited to using information gathered from documented cases. For example, the figures listed above do not include current or former service members who have never sought treatment or individuals who may have sought treatment through private therapists, counselors or doctors.
Learn more about PTSD through our selected resources
About Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI “occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue,” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [NINDS], 2012).
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in increased numbers of veterans who have experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The Department of Defense and the Defense and Veteran's Brain Injury Center estimate that 22% of all combat casualties from these conflicts are brain injuries, compared to 12% of Vietnam related combat casualties. 60-80% of soldiers who have other blast injuries may also have traumatic brain injuries.”
The severity of TBI refers to the nature of the injury itself and ranges from mild to moderate to severe.
Learn more about TBI through our selected resources
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “Depression is a common problem that can occur following trauma. It involves feelings of sadness or low mood that last more than just a few days. Unlike a blue mood that comes and goes, depression is longer lasting. Depression can get in the way of daily life and make it hard to function.”
Research has identified depression in 14% of servicemen and women after they had served in Iraq or Afghanistan (RAND Report, 2008). According to the Center for Deployment Psychology, “some military personnel struggle with depression irrespective of a deployment. In veterans seeking care at VA hospitals, depression presents at an even higher rate -- about 25% -- either alone or along with conditions like PTSD and substance use (OIF & OEF Deployment Roster, VA Health Care, 2008).”
Learn more about depression through our selected resources