interviews with soldiers suffering from PTSD

This week the Australian radio show Street Stories tells the story of soldiers returning from combat with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

No-one knows why a significant number of service men and women develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their experiences of conflict, and others do not. But for these veterans of the Gulf War and East Timor, the impact on their lives has been profound.

The onset of symptoms often means the end of their military career, and their ability to adapt to other employment is limited. Some days, motivation returns — and on others they can barely get out of bed in the morning. They feel isolated and worthless, and it affects every aspect of their lives. Some turn to alcohol to blur the memories, but it doesn’t fix the problem. Relationships are a likely casualty; post-traumatic stress disorder wreaks havoc on families and loved ones, and for the young partner of a soldier who served in Afghanistan, the consequences were devastating.

According to the show, around 12% – 15% of soldiers who experience dangerous combat situations go on to develop PTSD. Those are Australian statistics.

The statistics for the US are: about 30% of Vietnam veterans have PTSD, 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, 6% to 11% of veterans of the Afghanistan war, and 12% to 20% of veterans of the Iraq war. (ncptsd.va.gov)

But it’s also interesting that in the United States, about 8% of the population will have PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives. (ncptsd.va.gov)

And it’s important to remember that PTSD refers only to those who develop a full blown disorder. Many more soldiers experience post-traumatic stress that may manifest in a variety of ways without being debilitating enough to be labeled a disorder.

The shows page on the Street Stories site includes a hotline number for Australian Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.

For the US there is a website: Seamless Transition from the VA.

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