SITREP What is PTSD?

SITREP – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When was PTSD invented?

“Post-traumatic stress disorder” first came into use in the 1970s by US military. It was previously known as “shell shock” but the symptoms associated with the condition were not necessarily due to be shelled. Vietnam veterans were displaying similar symptoms to one another. The difference was the exposure to “traumatic” experiences of veterans and civilians caught up in the conflict. It was officially recognised in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association.

Where can it happen?

The trauma can happen anywhere, anytime and may not show or have any real effect for years.

What is trauma?

It is best to ask a psychiatrist as it varies so much from person to person. But, from me it can be roughly classified for the purposes of this answer as any injury or event that has a profound, lasting negative mental and physical effect on day-to-day life. We all have different thresholds for how we handle trauma: some people will recover quickly while others never do – everyone is different. For myself traumatic events during my military service lay dormant for almost 30yrs, but when I was in a stressful job, personal life was a real struggle. Another traumatic event open the box to the past. You do not have to have served in the military for PTSD to strike, examples include accidents (car, bike, etc.), abuse (sexual, emotional), terror attacks and rape.

What can I do as a Veteran?

With time healing sometimes does happen naturally, so often these days the stress of life itself hinders the healing process. As a veteran I have recieved help from my GP, Walking with the Wounded, SSAFA and Combat Stress. All had a part to play, with advice, counselling support and recently Cognitive Behaviour Therepy through Talking Changes. It was the latter sessions that pinpointed the crux of my condition, the traumatic event when I was eighteen.

What about Anti-depressants?

My GP has had me on antidepressants for a long time. But they only really work if I use the self-help measures and strategies that are in my SITREP Journals. Anti-depressants may not be advisable in some cases where addiction prevention if drugs were used during the incident itself, again your GP will help and guide you.