In my essay about Veterans and PTSD, my goal was to create something that people could really learn and reflect from. I wanted to incorporate both my feelings and actual statistics about this real mental illness that people suffer from everyday.. I wanted to encourage people to dig deeper than the common negative connotations behind PTSD. I think that I accomplished these things well. 

Briana Harris

English 3


PTSD in Veterans

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. The symptoms of PTSD are due to major trauma in a person’s life. In this case veterans go through a lot of mental distress by what they see and are exposed to. One of the veterans who came to SLA spoke about nightmares which was caused by his experiences of war, ultimately causing his PTSD. Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans come back with PTSD, it is extremely common. Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every 10 men and 5 of every 10 women experience at least one trauma in their lives.Many people are often mislead about PTSD, which leads them to make false assumptions about the person with it. It is important to educate ourselves and stop these false and hurtful stigmas.

Unlike the veterans who came to talk to us at SLA, many veterans would rather not speak of war. Mainly, because it was so traumatic and they would rather mask it and leave it in the past. The stigma behind PTSD of being insane and crazy, causes them to steer away from getting the help that they desperately need, due to unawareness and just the simple fact there is an extreme negative connotation behind any mental illness. From a person like myself who suffers from PTSD, including panic attacks, and paranoia, it is very important to realize that this does not make a person crazy, but also realize that it is serious and that the person should be seen for and treated for, as it can cause numerous issues for that person besides fear.

Veterans experience more than just combat violence but sexual violence as well. When people think of Veterans and PTSD, they automatically associate it with the trauma of the actual war, never associating it with the sexual trauma that some of these men had to undergo. There are many more male veterans than there are female veterans. So, even though military sexual trauma is more common in women veterans, over half of all veterans with military sexual trauma are men. Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military.

Some people refrain from saying that PTSD has to do with the violence that some veterans commit as they arrive home away from war. It is important to know that PTSD contributes to the violence of Veterans. While it is inaccurate to say that PTSD causes violence, the unfortunate truth is that there is a link between PTSD and postwar homicide, and it’s far more than just a passing correlation. Serving in a war zone exposes people to very serious moral challenges, and the experience can serve as a catalyst, making some people less stable and more violent than they might have been otherwise. War is hell, and the hell rubs off.

Veterans risked their lives, so that we as Americans could live in a better country. This is why we should honor them and respect them. In order to help Veterans with PTSD, or anyone else, it is important to first educate yourself about the illness and to educate others so that they can too know that the negative stigmas behind PTSD are false.

Slate Magazine: PTSD Contributes to Violence, April 17, 2014