PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after somebody has experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event, such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical and sexual assault while in adulthood or childhood. The disorder can affect a man or woman in several ways. The mind and body system that deal with everyday stressful situations is overwhelmed during extraordinary events. Horrific memories and experiences are constantly remembered; sounds, sights and smells can trigger extreme reactions in a person that has endured war, natural disasters or sexual crimes. The traumatic events most often associated with PTSD for men are rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse. The most traumatic events for women are rape, sexual molestation, physical attack, being threatened with a weapon, and childhood physical abuse.
An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD. About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year. This represents a small portion of those who have experienced at least one traumatic event; 60.7 percent of men and 51.2percent of women reported at least one traumatic event.
Around 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. Another 20 to 25 percent have experienced partial PTSD. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of the female Vietnam veterans have experienced with what doctors call “clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.” PTSD has also been found among veterans of other wars. Estimates of PTSD from the Gulf War are as high as 10 percent and estimates from the war in Afghanistan are as high as 11 percent. Current estimates of PTSD in military personnel who served in Iraq range from 12 to 20 percent.
War veterans are known to come home with what psychologist call invisible war wounds. Soldiers witness multiple killings of their fellow brothers as well as kill many of the adversaries. They also experience roadside bombings and heavy gun shootouts. Snipers are set up in high buildings, blowing the heads off of soldiers. There are reports of soldiers that were taken as prisoners of war that returned home with PTSD, for all the torcher, starvation and living conditions even rape.
Peggy Thomas explains,
“In 1865, Erastus Holmes staggered out of the infamous Confederate POW camp in Andersonville, Georgia. He weighed no more than 85 pounds. Disease, starvation, and deprivation had reduced him to half the man he was as a quartermaster in the 5th Indiana Cavalry Regiment. But the end of the Civil War did not bring an end to his suffering. Holmes went home but could not stop thinking about the horrors he had witnessed. He obsessively built a model of the Andersonville Prison in his backyard, and then spent 25 years in the Indiana Hospital for the insane. If Holmes were alive today he would be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (10).
For a long time, many people have been working on different ways to try to treat PTSD. Today, there are two main kinds of treatment for PTSD, which are therapy and medication. There