On Friday, the San Diego Union Tribune carried a very thoughtful piece by Harry Croft and Sydney Savion on perceptions of PTSD in the media. They point out that of late the media has focused heavily on PTSD in relation to recent shootings or other incidences of violence. Often it later turns out the PTSD had nothing to do with the incident, but by that point a narrative that veterans with PTSD are somehow ticking time bombs of violence and destruction has already taken hold.
In truth an estimated 20% of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are affected by PTSD. That means that around 80% leave the military unaffected by this highly misunderstood condition.
For the 20% who battle with PTSD, each veteran has their own experience. On our blog we recently featured Josh, a veteran of the Iraq conflict who has been getting help in coping with his PTSD through VOALA and the VA. His experience with PTSD has included flashbacks, avoidance, negative thoughts and emotions, as well as issues with sleep. He still struggles with thoughts of suicide and self-harm today, but Josh’s experience is always going to be different from any other veteran with PTSD. Veterans like Josh struggle with a number of issues on a day to day basis, but they are not the imminent danger to the wider community that they are sometimes portrayed as.
In their article, Croft and Savion point out four myths about the condition that the public should make a conscious effort to rid themselves of with they think about our veterans.
Quoting directly from their article, those prevailing myths are-
- “PTSD is like pregnancy: it’s all or it’s none; it is or it isn’t. Most people don’t know that PTSD symptoms range from very mild and almost non-observable to very severe. Many veterans with PTSD do not have very severe symptoms.”
- “PTSD provokes people to cause trouble in the workplace, especially with violence. Those with PTSD are not prone to erratic and violent behavior, any more than others without the condition.”
- “Everybody who’s been to the Middle East or who’s been in combat has PTSD. Studies have found that 20 percent of veterans returning from the combat zone have PTSD. This means four in five don’t have it.”
- “There is nothing that can be done to treat the condition. Once you get it, you’ve got it and there’s just very little that can be done for you. Not true at all.”
It is time to lay these myths about PTSD to rest.
Most veterans return from service and need little to no outside help adjusting to civilian life. For those that do need help, VOALA is here.
Our programs are designed to help the men and women who have served our country and need help re-acclimatizing to civilian life. We offer transitional housing, job development and employment services, as well as support services. We offer a lifeline to veterans in need.
This Veterans Day we are offering everyone the opportunity to Stand Watch for Veterans. Please click here to make a donation to our veterans programs today. Show veterans that they are not alone. Your support will help veterans in our community who need our help.
We will be paying pay tribute to every donor at www.StandWatchForVets.org. Stand watch for veterans this Veterans Day.