Today is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Screening Day, one of the key days in National PTSD Awareness Month. If you think you might be suffering from PTSD, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD is an excellent resource to consult.
And that makes sense: PTSD is most commonly associated with the military. Troops returning from far-flung theaters, having experienced the uncensored horrors of war, are prime candidates to develop PTSD. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — 300,000 in all — have been diagnosed with PTSD.
PTSD is hardly limited to the military. Victims of abuse or assault and people closely affected by serious accidents or natural disasters are also most likely to develop PTSD. (If you’re looking for more background, our friends Josh and Chuck at “Stuff You Should Know” produced a podcast on PTSD in late May.)
But PTSD is usually framed through its effects on the military, given the close of the war in Iraq and the continued wind down of American troops in Afghanistan. Face the Facts USA, an initiative of George Washington University (a Research!America member), developed an infographic on PTSD in the military.
The infographic notes the horrifying rate of suicides among members of the military — though it also points out that the link between PTSD and suicide is certain, but not concrete. The economic burden of PTSD is substantial: Caring for veterans with PTSD has cost an estimated $2 billion so far, and care for veterans with PTSD costs 3.5 times more than veterans without PTSD.
Research plays a critical role. The many survivors, military and civilian, need more effective PTSD treatments.
Join the National Institute on Mental Health (@NIMHgov) for a Twitter Chat in recognition of National PTSD Awareness Month on Friday, June 28 from 11:00AM-12:00PM ET.