Every conflict that the United States has been involved in during the last fifty years has resulted in Servicemembers that return with different type of emotional stresses. No statistics exist about the number of soldiers that came back during Vietnam, Korea, and World War II suffering from battle stress, but it is thought that there have been many more than was realized at the time. Battle Fatigue, Delayed Stress, or even the “Thousand Yard Stare,” it has been called by many different names over the years, but it’s all likely the same condition. Post Traumatic Stress is a condition that has often been misdiagnosed or not properly diagnosed. Even when it was diagnosed the treatment there was given to Veterans has often been unsuccessful or not correct.
People who suspect that someone they love is suffering from posttraumatic stress should work to urge the Servicemember get evaluated and get assistance. Servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq can have experiences in battle and combat that cause long term emotional issues, and these issues can be treated and dealt with successfully sometimes, but the longer that it goes without treatment the harder it will be to treat. Many times people who have Post Traumatic Stress disorder are thought a little “Odd” or otherwise not who they normally were before they went into the Service. No one knows for sure how many people PTSD affects, but if a Servicemember is suspected of having this condition it is important that they be examined and screened by medical personnel. PTSD is a very insidious thing; it can lie dormant for long periods of time and not be evident at first. After acting normally for a period of time, suddenly a Servicemember can exhibit wide mood swings, or become distant, or withdraw, and will be irritable and UN responsive. There are a lot of counseling programs that are available including workshops, support sessions, and other treatment.
There are continuing research but some of the finest work being done is at Army Walter Reed Medical Hospital. If you have a relative or loved one that is exhibiting signs of PTSD, don’t wait. Seek immediate help, if they are a veteran assist the Servicemember to go to a Veterans Administration Medical facility for a evaluation. Not only can this help them to get back to normal, it can literally save a life, sometimes PTSD cloaks deeper depression.