Better Understanding PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is usually associated with veterans returning from tours in Iraq, Afghanistan or other highly volatile areas. However, more people suffer from PTSD than just military veterans. It can affect anyone at any age regardless of sex or racial background. Unfortunately, this is a largely unrecognized condition in a large number of people, possibly due to a public misconception about the condition.
According to an analysis published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, a study at Drexel University School of Public Health is the first to examine how public policy is used to address psychological trauma and PTSD in the U.S. “Federal laws explicitly addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have overwhelmingly focused on the needs of military personnel and veterans,” according to researchers. This means that those who suffer other traumas are not being studied for the impact of PTSD on their lives.
Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, an assistant professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health claims, “Although trauma and PTSD are serious issues affecting military populations, the raw number of people affected by PTSD includes substantially more civilians simply because the civilian population is so much larger.”
A National Institute of Health publication reported that over 7 million adults in the United States are afflicted with PTSD every year. These events include exposure to war, sexual abuse, rape, mugging, robbery, family violence, natural disasters, and other events that posed threats of death or harm.
It is important that more people understand this debilitating condition. PTSD affects more than war veterans. All those with the disorder deserve help. Education can encourage early therapy to help prevent the mental suffering that individuals experience, along with the development of co-occurring conditions. Untreated PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders. Although this is a serious problem in our military, public health policies should also recognize and reflect PTSD risk in the general population.