PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: If You’ve Been THERE, You Got IT, So Let’s Deal with IT

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Yes, if you've been there, PTSD is effecting you in some way. And even if you prefer not to get treatment for yourself, take a moment and think about your family.

Information - A Start

The National Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) website has a host of information, a good place to start

. They have a self- help Guide To PTSD at

and a brochure entitled "PTSD Does Not Mean You're Crazy! PTSD is the normal re-action of a normal person to abnormal circumstances"


The VA has its National Center for PTSD, which was created to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD. Its mission: To advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. Its site is at:


There is even a PTSD WebRing created to compile resources for those who suffer from PTSD, which was created in April 2004, has 23 active sites, with a total of 7,032 total page views. The WebRing hub is found at:


About The VVA Guide to PTSD

The purpose the guide is to assist you, the veteran, or your survivor(s), in presenting your claim for benefits based on exposure to psychologically traumatic events during military service that has resulted in PTSD. Remember, it is always best to seek the assistance of an experienced veterans service officer when presenting a claim to the VA.

The guide describes the VA's current programs for providing disability compensation to veterans who suffer from PTSD, as well as for the survivors of such veterans. Under current VA regulations, you can be paid compensation for PTSD if you currently have a clear medical diagnosis of the disorder, evidence that a sufficiently traumatic event (called a "stressor") occurred during active military service and medical evidence that the in-service stressor is causally related to your PTSD. Once the VA determines that your PTSD is service-connected, it will then decide how seriously your symptoms impair your social and industrial abilities (i.e., your capacity to start and maintain personal relationships and your ability to work). The guide does not address treatment techniques, but does provide suggestions for obtaining the appropriate care. Included in this guide is a short description of what to do if the VA denies your claim or establishes an un-just rating percentage.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a set of symptoms that surface after a very dangerous, frightening, and uncontrollable traumatic event. PTSD has many causes. As a veteran, it is most likely the result of the experience of war. However, you may have been the victim of another traumatic event such as a violent crime, accident, physical or sexual abuse, or a natural disaster.

PTSD symptoms fall into four categories:


--amnesia, disassociation, numbing, hyper vigilance, controlling behavior, isolation


--flashbacks, sleep disorders, overwhelming feelings, overreacting


--distrust, abandonment, helplessness, fear of change, blaming others


--feeling guilty, feeling as if you're crazy, feeling unworthy

If you recognize any of these symptoms, you are not alone and there is help.

The first step

: Realize it's not your fault.

The second step

: Believe that you have the power and ability to change and get well. It may be difficult, but take a healthy risk and reach out for help. PTSD is not all in your head! The evidence is mounting that PTSD, particularly chronic acute PTSD, significantly changes the electrical and chemical reaction of the body on a permanent basis. This causes increased chances of heart attack, strokes, and other long-term health problems.

For Families...

Although there are many resources available to help veterans work through the issues surrounding their war experiences, there is not much help available to spouses and families of veterans. Living with someone who suffers from PTSD can be traumatic. Some spouses report many years of pent up anger and frustration dealing with their veterans, and they feel alone. Some have totally lost themselves in their veterans' problems and are unable to deal with their own. If you have a spouse or family member with PTSD, learn all you can about the illness and its treatment. Associates of Vietnam Veterans of American (AVVA) has recently up-dated and reissued an excellent program for the spouses and families of veterans suffering from PTSD entitled "Coping Skills for Loving Your Vietnam Veteran." For more information about this AVVA program contact: AVVA; 8605 Cameron Street, Suite 400; Silver Spring, MD 20910; (800) VVA-1316;

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt