Myths about PTSD

PTSD Blog ImageBy Megan Hawker, MA, IMF #65325; ACI Clinical Specialist; Major, Medical Service Corps; US Army Reserves

“Veterans with PTSD are ticking time bombs”

Although some evidence supports a connection between aggression and Post Traumatic Stress, most veterans with PTSD are not unstable, aggressive or violent. There is a much larger component of the population that suffers from PTSD that never makes the headlines. The vast majority of veterans with PTSD are stable individuals working to improve their lives; individuals that recover from PTSD are often strengthened and empowered in the process.

 “PTSD is a sign of weakness or failure”

The development of PTSD is related to several factors, including the degree and nature of the trauma, previous experiences, genetics, age, gender, support systems, coping mechanisms, and stress levels. PTSD develops when the brain is overloaded; it is not a deficit in character or personality flaw.

 “He just overreacts to everything… she’s just being a drama queen… they bring it on themselves…“  

To that individual, the threat is very real. The brain is stuck in survival mode and is trying to keep the body alive. After life threatening situations an individual can have difficulty in distinguishing genuine threats from perceived or potential threats. The experience can lead to physiological and neurochemical changes in the brain- that are very real.

“They need to learn to deal with it”

It is not from a lack of wanting to get better that keeps individuals from recovery. Barriers and challenges run much deeper and are more complex than a simple choice to continue suffering. There are many effective treatments for PTSD that can reduce or eliminate symptoms. Help is available. Change can begin with a supportive climate and an understanding environment of family, friends or co-workers.

Help for veterans:

Veteran Connection YouTube Channel

National Center for PTSD

Make the Connection Resources and Support

211 Homepage

Help for family and friends:

National Center for PTSD

SAMHSA

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