The Many Forms, Faces And Causes Of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with combat, but trauma comes in many forms.

About 7 or 8 percent of people experience PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The rate is higher for women than for men: about 10 percent compared with 4 percent. Experiencing sexual assault or child sexual abuse, or living through accidents, disaster or witnessing death can all be contributing factors, in addition to time in combat with the military.

NPR's Weekend Edition wanted to hear from those people who have struggled with PTSD, but not because of the reasons we often hear about.

Michael Coleman says he faced stress on a daily basis as a social worker in North Carolina. He worked for the government investigating foster care in the state for 13 years.

12 Days: Soldier Dogs for Independence helps vets struggling with PTSD

Sarah Loesch, Courier & Press Published 2:20 p.m. CT Dec. 13, 2017

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Zach Beaman would serve a thousand years as a marine if it was possible. 

"I loved it," he said. "You have your childhood best friends and those people that you consider family, but when you join the military you get a different look at what brotherhood and sisterhood really means."

Despite his love for the service, Beaman found himself struggling with PTSD and social anxiety. In February of 2017, he self-admitted into Deaconess Cross Pointe for suicidal tendencies. 

"I had just reached my breaking point to where I felt my disabilities were a burden on my family," the 34-year-old said. "It got to the point and I got up out of bed one morning and I just decided I was done."

During his four days of inpatient rehab at Cross Pointe, Beaman had his medicine adjusted and the idea of service dog was floated to him. A fellow marine had also mentioned to him how helpful a service dog could be. 

In April he went through the interview process with Soldier Dogs for Independence, a local non-profit focused on helping veterans who live with physical or mental injuries. The program is entirely free for veterans to participate. 

Beaman said the experience has been life-changing. When he first met Kenzie, who will be 2 in May, he knew it was a perfect match. 

"When were matched she immediately came and went right to my side," he said. "She looked up at me, and I immediately felt, this is it."

Local woman raises money for PTSD families after husband commits suicide

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – While Christmas can be a joyous time for people surrounded by loved ones, it can also be a time spent reflecting on loved ones lost. This year, that is settling in unexpectedly for one South Carolina family.


Sugar Jeffcoat, mother of four, says she and her husband Colin were married in 1999. Colin was a Combat Corpsmen in the Navy. 


“The goal was to get married and him get out of the Navy and us start a life together,” Sugar explained.


However, after just two years, the September 11th terror attack happened. Sugar tells NBC Charlotte’s Rachel Rollar her husband felt like he wasn’t finished serving his country. Colin Jeffcoat joined the Army National Guard as a Medic for three deployments. Ultimately, this pushed back the couple’s plans of him getting out and fully starting that life together until 2012.


When Colin returned to the US, Sugar said, he was a lot more on edge. 


“I really chalked it up to him trying to get acclimated," Sugar said. 


Sugar was homeschooling the couple’s four children and said she knew it was a lot to walk back into. Things really changed though when Colin’s fellow medic committed suicide this past September. 


Sugar remembers the car ride home from the funeral.


"He said to me, I understand you just can't make it shut off. Sometimes you can’t make your mind turn off."


Sadly, her husband couldn't either. Two months later in November Colin took his own life, leaving behind those four beautiful children: Cole, Olivia, Jonah, and Judah. 


“What you do matters and you're not replaceable. Your families can't replace you and your country can't replace you,” Sugar said.

Jolly Old Saint Firefighter: One Firefighter's Journey from PTSD to Santa Claus


Santa and Mrs. Claus

By Jada Hudson

I recently had the privilege of meeting soon-to-retire firefighter Steve Sullivan, and when he told me his story, I was immediately compelled to share it because of what a prime example it is of someone struggling, seeking the help they need, and finding healing, recovery, and new life on the other side of trauma.

Steve Sullivan’s Story

In September of 1990, Fire Engineering published an article about Sullivan’s trauma (PDF, 1.2MB). He had been involved in a training exercise that went horribly awry. He was trapped in a fiery room, unable to escape, flames were closing in on him, and he sustained significant burns that sent him to the burn unit for quite some time. After his trauma, he suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He struggled with his PTSD and alcohol. He sought help, and now he is in recovery!

With retirement on the horizon, Steve started thinking about what he wanted to do with his time. It wasn’t hard to find. He just had to look in the mirror to see his next step in life. He set his eyes on a new, meaningful goal (--Santa Claus. Like a phoenix born out of the ashes, his new goal has revived his passion for life.

“I have spent my whole life interacting with people where it was their worst day, and now I get to be a pat of joy and these peoples’ best days!” Sullivan said.

Veteran with PTSD wants missing therapy dog back

Updated: Dec 09, 2017 8:00 PM EST

The dog went missing a few days ago and was taken right from their backyard. Now they are just praying she is safe and sound.

"I don't wanna break down and start crying, but it's about where I'm at. I mean, I don't wanna see her misused in anyway," said Gerald Psycher Jr., military veteran.

She is more than just a pet and a best friend. Anna, the 9-month-old Doberman Pinscher, is a source of comfort for Psycher.

Psycher has PTSD and Anna helps him get through the struggle of life after war.

"She's my calmer. I have PTSD so when I'm worked up she comes and lays her head on my chest and she just knows," he said.

All that comfort turned into fear and uncertainty after Anna went missing out of the family's backyard in Saginaw three days ago.

"I went to go to the store and I looked and the gate was open, wide open. And the dog was obviously gone," Psycher said.

The family's yard has a large privacy fence with a heavy duty gate. He said he has no idea how Anna could have gotten out except by someone opening the gate.

"I'm sad and I'm really angry because I just think someone took her," Psycher said.

Wild roots farms helps those with PTSD

 Wild roots farms helps those with

By Taylor Young | 

BRISTOL, Vt. (WCAX) Every day on his 10.5-acre farm, Jon Turner feeds his chickens and does yard work that slowly but surely improves his land.

He moved to the hilltop two years ago with a goal to eventually provide 85 percent of the food his family consumes. It is both a benefit to the environment and to his well-being.

"When you interact with the natural world, it forces you to slow down and take a breath," said Turner.

It's a break from reality that he says saved his life.

"War, there is no pretty thing about it," said Turner.

Ten years ago, Turner returned home after four years serving as a combat Marine. During his time in Haiti and Iraq, the 32-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury and developed post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

"PTSD is a range of symptoms and I would say that they sort of manifest itself as sort of a real concern that world is a dangerous place," said Matthew Price, an assistant professor in the University of Vermont's Department of Psychological Science.

"At times it is manageable, but sometimes it slaps you upside the head and there is nothing that you can do about it," said Turner.

The Bristol man isn't alone. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20 percent of veterans who fought in the same war as Turner suffer from PTSD.

For the last four years, Turner has opened his doors to vets who also suffer from PTSD. He teaches them sustainable agriculture in hopes they, too, one day open their own farm.

"Stewarding the land and providing food for your community continues that sense of purpose that a lot of people lose when they leave the community," said Anthony Hamilton, a friend and veteran suffering from PTSD.

"It's getting them outside of their house into situations that they may perceive previously as dangerous or scary and getting them to be in those situations for a bit of time," said Price.

"To watch a veteran who has no agricultural experience come out to the farm and you know that they have been through certain circumstances during their time in the military service, just be at ease and settle and be able to take a bull belly breath, that's an amazing thing to see," said Turner.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy Holds Promise for PTSD Treatment

Emerging evidence suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training may be another nonpharmacologic therapy option for veterans with posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

A new randomized controlled pilot study found reduction of PTSD symptoms in Iraq-serving veterans after 8 weeks of MBSR training. The effects lasted at least 6 months after treatment ended. The results are preliminary, given the small population, but they pave the way for broader research.

"Any time we tell someone we have a treatment for them that doesn't involve drugs or talking about their trauma, it can be compelling," lead author James Douglas Bremner, MD, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, told Psychiatry Advisor.


PTSD For First Responders Legislation Advances In Florida Statehouse

Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee.

Legislation to expand workers’ compensation benefits for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other first responders unanimously passed its first Senate committee this week.

In part, the bill would require workers’ comp to cover mental conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many of these ailments do not show up immediately following a specific event, but rather take years to present with symptoms.

Currently, PTSD is only fully covered by workers’ comp if the mental injury is accompanied by a physical injury that requires medical treatment.

Many firefighters regularly see troubling images that are not easily erased from the brain, adding that any increased expense to the state should be minimal, said Florida Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis.

“We are going to work with legislative leadership to ensure that those benefits are covered,” said Patronis. “So, the benefits that our first responders deserve, they should receive. In the scheme of things, it’s not a huge fiscal expense.”

The suicide rate among first responders is higher than the general population, said Patronis, and he hopes expanding workers’ comp coverage for mental health issues will bring that number down.




A Veteran’s Story: How Genetic Testing Helped with PTSD Treatment

12/10/2017 12:30 pm ET

In the last couple of months I’ve had the chance to talk to John Foster, an Iraq War veteran and he allowed me to share his story:

John Foster, like many who have served our country, has dealt with the lasting effects of war, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 38-year-old says a genetic test, ordered by his doctor, helped guide his treatment plan and allowed him to get better, faster.

The Orlando, Florida, resident was a combat medic and served two tours of duty in Iraq. He says the first tour, in 2004 and 2005, left him with no problems…or so he thought. It was during the second tour, in 2006 and 2007, when his issues developed. This is when the Army extended tours as a part of the troop surge. During John’s deployment, 11 members of his unit were killed in the deadliest year of the war on terror.

Foster’s PTSD has required both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Through the years, he’s dealt with the frustration of discovering that many psychiatric drugs don’t work for him: at one point taking as many as 13 different medications a day.

This Veteran Is Helping Others Fight PTSD — With Horses

09/22/2017 05:01 am ET Updated Sep 25, 2017

Sam Rhodes is no stranger to the toll that war can take on a person’s mental health.

The retired Army command sergeant major knows that 20 veterans die by suicide every day. He has thought of taking his own life and has struggled with a sense of hopelessness since returning from combat in Iraq in 2005 and being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I spent 30 months in combat. It affected me more than most,” Rhodes, 56, told HuffPost. “I considered taking my own life, and I was getting ready to do that. I’m still working through that. It’s a tough battle.”

In 2008, Rhodes found that working with horses helped him cope with these feelings and gave him a new sense of inner peace and purpose ― and he wanted to share that with others affected by PTSD.

He now runs a nonprofit called Warrior Outreach, which offers free programs that teach veterans and their loved ones the basics of horse riding and care. He operates out of his ranch in Fortson, Georgia, about 30 miles from Fort Benning Army Base.

Warrior Outreach is well-known in the area, attracting thousands of people a year. They come to ride the 20-acre ranch’s trails, to work in the barn, to train newcomers ― or just to kick back and enjoy the scenery. Rhodes and his team of volunteers also hold music events on the ranch and visit veterans at their homes to help with repairs.

“Last year alone, over 16,800 people were touched by our program in some way,” said Rhodes. 

Between 11 and 20 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD, according to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. The condition can occur after a traumatic or life-threatening experience and may cause prolonged periods of anxiety, jumpiness, bad memories and disturbed sleep. It can also affect personal relationships, Rhodes said, noting his painful divorce from his first wife.

“I didn’t really want to be married anymore, after I came back from combat,” he said.

Alterations in Blood-based miRNA in Veterans Affected with Combat-related PTSD

Published on October 9, 2017

Individuals affected with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) demonstrate changes in microRNA (miRNA) molecules associated with gene regulation. A controlled study, involving military personnel on deployment to a combat zone in Afghanistan, provided evidence for the role of blood-based miRNAs as candidate biomarkers for symptoms of PTSD. This may offer an approach towards screening for symptoms of PTSD, and holds promise for understanding other trauma-related psychiatric disorders. Limitations of the study are that this was a small pilot study, and the findings need to be validated, extended, and confirmed. First results were presented at the ECNP Congress 2017 in Paris.

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can manifest following exposure to a traumatic event, such as combat, assault, or natural disaster. Among individuals exposed to traumatic events, only a minority of individuals will develop PTSD, while others will show resiliency. Little is known of the mechanisms behind these different responses. The last few years have seen much attention given to whether the modification and expression of genes—epigenetic modifications—might be involved. But there are several practical and ethical challenges in designing a research study on humans undergoing such experiences, meaning that designing relevant study approaches is difficult.

The research group from the Netherlands, worked with just over 1,000 Dutch soldiers and the Dutch Ministry of Defense to study changes in biology in relation to changes in presentations of symptoms of PTSD in soldiers who were deployed to combat zone in Afghanistan. In a longitudinal study they collected blood samples before deployment, as well as 6 months after deployment. Most of the soldiers had been exposed to trauma, and some of the soldiers had developed symptoms of PTSD.

Benefits of transcendental meditation to Veterans

Scientific evidence that Transcendental Meditation works

“Transcendental Meditation benefits from a vast body of 40 years of research showing very powerful long-lasting reductions in stress and sustained improvements in health.”

—Norman Rosenthal, MD, renowned psychiatrist, medical researcher, and best-selling author who is credited with the discovery of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Hundreds of scientific studies have been conducted on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program at more than 200 independent universities and research institutions worldwide over the past 40 years. The National Institutes of Health have awarded over $26 million to research the effectiveness of TM for reducing stress and stress-related illness with a focus on cardiovascular disease. Findings have been published in leading, peer-reviewed scientific journals, including The American Journal of Cardiology and the American Heart Association’s Hypertension and Stroke.

  • 40-55% reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression
    Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011
  • 42% decrease in insomnia
    Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212-215, 1985
  • 25% reduction in plasma cortisol levels
    Hormones and Behavior 10: 54–60, 1978
  • Decreased high blood pressure–on par with first-line antihypertensives
    American Journal of Hypertension 21: 310–316, 2008
  • 47% reduced risk of cardiovascular-related mortality
    Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 5: 750-758, 2012
  • 30% improvement in satisfaction with quality of life
    Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011

The Torment of a Distant War


A Navy corpsman longs to make peace with the memories of fallen comrades. But healing comes slowly when you’re changed forever.

It didn’t take long to fill up the landing craft. Maybe two or three minutes. Just enough time to look up into the faces of the soldiers and Marines, three deep, lining the edge of the ship.

For the first time since the USS General Gordon had set sail from Okinawa two weeks earlier, there was no horseplay. Instead, the mood was reverent. Nobody spoke. Only the occasional cry of the seabird and creak of a landing craft gate broke the silence. We all knew what the other was thinking. Some of us would be going home in body bags.

The author of this personal story about living PTSD and survivor's guilt sits with a group of other combat corpsmen in Vietnam

The author (center) and other field corpsmen in Vietnam wait for transportation back to rear lines, 1968.

I knew at least a dozen corpsmen who died there. Of the eight corpsmen who sailed over on the General Gordon with me in 1967, half didn’t make it back.

The expression on each man’s face was the same. You could almost read the question, “Will you be the unlucky one, or will it be the guy next to you? If I'm the unlucky one, will it be because I decide to do this instead of that? When the shit hits the fan, will I be brave? Can I hack it? Will I make it back home in one piece?

“If you ‘get it’ and I don't, am I worthy of that special blessing?”

I was surrounded by death in Vietnam. No one needs to tell me how lucky I was. Statistics weren’t on my side. I was a field corpsman, a prized target.

I knew at least a dozen corpsmen who died there. Of the eight corpsmen who sailed over on the General Gordon with me in 1967, half didn’t make it back. I still wonder why I survived and those others didn’t. Feeling deserving is so unthinkable. How could I ever feel equal to those who gave it up? They seemed so much more heroic than I was. If they were so much more than me, why am I still here and they’re not?

My Life
is back


“When I came back from Afghanistan, I was angry,
depressed, and suicidal. Transcendental Meditation
has lifted my depression, eased my pain and given
me my life back.”

– Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran

Operation Warrior Wellness:
building resilience and healing the
hidden wounds of war

The nightmare of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Over half a million U.S. troops deployed since 2001 suffer from PTSD. Yet less than 20% will receive adequate care due to lack of effective treatments, fear of stigma or insufficient government resources. Half of those with PTSD won't receive any care at all.

Left untreated, PTSD cripples functioning and places veterans at great risk for violent and self-destructive behavior, including:

  • Alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Severe depression, anxiety or emotional numbness

Accessing Benefits for PTSD is Easier Than Ever

Sept 15, 2017

Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and now it’s easier than ever before. In July 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began providing an easier process for veterans of all conflicts seeking health care and disability compensation for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Obtaining disability compensation — the tax-free benefit paid to a veteran for disabilities that are a result of active service — will now be faster and simpler for the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces and are now coping with PTSD.

How Does the New Rule Work?

Specifically, VA published a final regulation which reduces the evidence needed for getting disability compensation if the trauma claimed by a veteran is related to fear of hostile activity and is consistent with the circumstances of the veteran’s service.

Before this new rule, VA officials had to confirm the “stressor event” that a veteran reported experiencing unless the veteran received certain military awards or served in certain occupations.  This process could often be time-consuming, delaying care for those in need of support.

The new rule will no longer require VA officials to confirm a stressor tied to fear of hostile activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist can confirm that the experience recalled by a veteran supports a PTSD diagnosis and the veteran's symptoms are related to the stressor. Importantly, the regulation will eliminate the need to search for records to verify veterans’ accounts, which can be a very involved process.

The new rule will be particularly beneficial for:

"This nation has a solemn obligation to the men and women who have honorably served this country and suffer from the often-devastating emotional wounds of war."

  • Veterans whose military records have been damaged or destroyed
  • Veterans whose records don't specify they have combat experience
  • Veterans who have experienced combat but have no record of it
  • Veterans whose combat experience was long ago and their ability to recall the date of the event is diminished. Previously, knowing the approximate date was key to records searches.

Strategies for Coping with Flashbacks

Sept 15, 2017

Soldiers graduating

Army photo by Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine

  • Explains how flashbacks after a traumatic event can affect your daily life
  • Offers tips to use when having flashbacks related to a traumatic event

Strategies for Coping with Flashbacks

Flashbacks happen when you feel like you are reliving a traumatic experience or memory. They can occur day or night, and can occur recently or even years after the event. You may remember the entire event or only details such as sounds and smells.

Flashbacks can occur in veterans who have experienced a traumatic event. While not always, flashbacks are often a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can occur as a result of combat, a training accident, sexual trauma or other traumatic events. If you are having flashbacks, know you are not alone. Help is available.

Seek Care

It is important to talk to your health care provider if you have flashbacks. Flashbacks, as well as other PTSD symptoms, can eventually limit your ability to enjoy life and affect how you act in social settings[PDF 160KB]. This includes at work or in your family life. A provider can explain why flashbacks may be occurring and help you work through them with an effective treatment. Potential treatments include:

  • Prolonged exposure therapy [PDF 7.4MB]: Repeatedly talking about the traumatic event in memory and describing the event aloud in detail until your memories of it no longer feel upsetting.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): While thinking about or discussing your memories, you are taught to shift your focus away from the memories. For example, you may focus on eye movements or tapping instead. This can help change how you react to memories of your trauma.
  • Cognitive processing therapy [PDF 7.4MB]: This type of therapy teaches you skills to change your negative thoughts and beliefs associated with trauma so they become less distressing. You can then begin to change how you feel and your behavior.

Take Control

While the occurrence of flashbacks usually improves as your PTSD treatment progresses, there are strategies you can use to better manage flashbacks in between your appointments. They can help you safely cope and prevent flashbacks from affecting your daily life. If you are experiencing flashbacks, try these tips on your own during or right after a flashback.

  • Tell yourself you are having a flashback. Talk to yourself (literally) and note where you are now and that you are safe.
  • Remind yourself that the traumatic event is over. It happened in the past and you are in the present.
  • Help yourself stay present by using your five senses. Look around you. Walk into another room and drink a glass of water. Speak with a loved one you trust.
  • Know what makes you feel secure. For example, wrapping a warm blanket around yourself, practicing breathing or relaxation exercises, or calling a friend.
  • Learn the triggers that lead to your flashback. After a flashback, use a notebook to write down what happened right before, what you heard and how you felt.

If you are having flashbacks as the result of military service or other life stress, know that reaching out is a sign of strength. Contact the DCoE Outreach Center to confidentially speak with a trained health resource consultant 24/7, call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.

Additional Resources

Did ancient warriors suffer PTSD too? Texts reveal that battles 3,000 years ago left soldiers traumatised by what they saw

  • UK researchers have found signs of PTSD up to 3,000 years ago
  • They say soldiers experiencing horrors of the battlefield is not just a phenomenon of modern warfare
  • The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon in 490BC
  • But scientists traced mention of 'shell shock' back to 1,300 BC

Ancient warriors armed with swords and spears from 3,000 years ago suffered from shell shock just like modern soldiers, according to a study.

Soldiers who experienced the horrors of the battlefield and were left with post traumatic stress disorder is not a phenomenon of modern warfare, say the researchers.

An analysis of ancient texts shows PTSD became common considerably earlier than previously believed, although the symptoms were explained away as 'the spirits of those enemies whom the patient had killed.'

UK researchers have found signs of PTSD up to 3,000 years ago. They say soldiers experiencing horrors of the battlefield (stock image shown) is not just a phenomenon of modern warfare. The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon, 490BC. Pictured is a Mycenaean Vase decorated with Bronze Age warriors

UK researchers have found signs of PTSD up to 3,000 years ago. They say soldiers experiencing horrors of the battlefield (stock image shown) is not just a phenomenon of modern warfare. The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon, 490BC. Pictured is a Mycenaean Vase decorated with Bronze Age warriors

The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon 490BC but scientists traced mention of 'shell shock' back to 1,300 BC in ancient Mesopotamia

The study, published in Early Science and Medicine, said that while modern technology has increased the effectiveness and types of weaponry, 'ancient soldiers facing the risk of injury and death must have been just as terrified of hardened and sharpened swords, showers of sling-stones or iron-hardened tips of arrows and fire arrows.'

Read more:

Resources for Military Veterans

View a listing of veteran state resources.

Map of United States

Make the Connection is a public awareness campaign sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs that connects veterans and their families with information and resources to help them cope with transitions, physical and psychological health concerns and challenging life events.

Coping and Support

Common reactions to combat include fear, sadness and distress. Real Warriors is here to help you identify when you need to reach out, seek treatment or develop new coping skills to manage your stress. We provide tips to help you recognize when you need help, treatment options and community and military health care resources.



Sept.15, 2017

Since 9/11, 2.4 million brave men and women have deployed around the world to fight for our country. The percentage of those returning with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) is staggering. As these numbers continue to grow, it becomes more and more difficult for warriors to access timely and effective mental health treatment for PTSD, TBI and other invisible wounds.

PTSD and TBI Treatment Centers for Veterans

Warrior Care Network® is more than a PTSD program, it is a first-of-its-kind partnership between Wounded Warrior Project® and four national academic medical centers of excellence including Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, and UCLA Health. In cooperation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, this program will connect thousands of warriors with world-class care.

Warrior Care Network is a $100 million commitment to battle the invisible wounds of war by filling gaps in government care and reaching those who might otherwise go untreated. Wounded warriors will be connected with partner hospitals for evaluation and treatment options, enabling life changing PTSD help.

All treatment is provided at no cost to the warrior, and travel is provided at no cost to warriors and family members.

5 Ways Veterans Can Support PTSD Treatment

Soldiers graduating

Photo by Spc. Rochelle Prince-Krueger

  • Provides five ways veterans can support their PTSD treatment while working with a health care provider

Recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be an ongoing process. You have already shown a great amount of strength by taking the first step to reach out and get treatment. Seeking care early from a health care provider can lead to successful health outcomes.

There are options outside of treatment that can have a positive effect on your recovery. Consider the following five ways to support your return to peak performance.

1. Follow Your Provider’s Guidance

It is important to follow the treatment plan from your provider to ensure maximum recovery. This can include:

2. Continue Your Education with Support from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Obtaining a degree can help support recovery. Enrolling in a degree or certificate program can help focus your energy toward learning and ways to be involved in productive activities.

Read about these resources to learn how to take charge of your education:

3. Set Goals

Achieving goals can help you feel more empowered in your quest for full recovery. Goal setting can help you break down larger, long-term goals into smaller, easily achievable goals. It can keep you focused and motivated.

Consider keeping a journal and writing down your goals for the immediate future. When writing your goals, keep them SMART. S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – relevant, T – time-based.

Share your goals with your health care provider to make sure they won’t affect your treatment. For example, if one of your goals is to return to work or volunteer, your health care provider can help you set a timeline and give tips to help ease the transition. Another example is if one of your goals is to start working out at home alone, your provider may adjust your goal to work out in a gym to increase your social interactions.

4. Exercise to Relax Your Body and Mind

Exercise can benefit those coping with PTSD [PDF 385KB]. For instance, running, swimming, weight lifting and walking can help reduce physical tension. Other activities can support relaxation goals, such as meditation and yoga.

Benefits may include:

  • Developing more energy and confidence
  • Creating feelings of personal control
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Distracting yourself from difficult emotions or thoughts

5. Lean on Your Social Support Network

Stress injuries are common among veterans. This means there are also other warriors who have experienced what you are going through. In addition to seeking care, consider attending support groups. Support groups can offer veterans coping with PTSD a sense of community and encouragement during a time of uncertainty. These groups focus on topics ranging from overcoming daily challenges to entering into VA or DoD counseling programs. Find a support group near you:

Reestablishing or increasing contact with friends, family or colleagues can also help your recovery. You may feel like they don’t completely understand what you experienced, but having people around who care about you and are available to listen can be beneficial. Research shows that our social relationships can have a significant effect on our health [PDF 61.4KB]. Reach out for help:

Additional Resources

Find a job:


Charity uses service dogs to help veterans adjust to civilian life

August 20, 2017 05:16 PM

NASSAU -- With six tours of duty under his belt, U.S. Army veteran John Horrell has served his country bravely.

However, Horrell’s new service dog, Mia, could be the hero he needs in his own life.

“I was like oh my god that's the dog that I've been seeing this whole time,” Horrell said. “She's absolutely gorgeous.”

Horrell was medically discharged last year for severe PTSD.

“I hit a really low point in my life and ended up calling the veterans crisis line,” Horrell said.

“You start losing friends overseas and you disconnect with people,” said Jeff Anderson. “I don't want to be close to you because what if you die.”

Horrell was connected with Rebuilding Warriors, which is a national non-profit that trains and provides service dogs to vets who are amputees, have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Disorder.

The archer: Outdoorsman finds healing through hunting, adventure and faith

Written by 

September 01, 2017 2:37 pm 

As a teen, Garrett Burbank was drawn to hunting. The only boy in a house of women and without the influence of hunters to mentor him, his passion seemed out of place. But it persisted.

“I felt like hunting was branded on my soul,” Burbank said.

Wanting to assist with her son’s passion, Lora Bush decided to help him chase his dream. So together they bought a .270 and alone they planned their chase.

The first season was a failure. They struggled to learn the regulations, interpret the land and, despite seeing deer on the sides of the road on the way to their hunts near Lander, they couldn’t get a deer in front of them to harvest.

The following season, at the age of 13, Burbank and his mother finally got a little luck. But the hard work didn’t end with the well-placed shot. They took the doe home, hung and aged it and together they learned to butcher the deer. They were inexperienced, but they wanted to have total quality control from the field to the table.

“That first harvest was epic in so many ways,” Burbank said.


No Barriers Warriors helps veterans

Posted: Aug 13, 2017 8:45 PM EDT

TUCSON-It's a program aimed at wounded veterans who are having a tough time reintegrating into society after leaving the military.

It's called No Barriers Warriors.

Raytheon has sponsored the program for the last four years.

Every year 12 veterans head off on an expedition into the outdoors

This year though, one of Raytheon’s own employees was selected to go on that expedition.

“I’m hoping that this will allow me to maybe leave some of my past there so I can move forward with my life.” That’s what Justin Mithers told News 4 Tucson.

He suffers from PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

On Wednesday he leaves his wife and 4 year old son for 10 days as part of the No Barrier Warriors 10 day expedition.

“A big part of the expedition will be team building exercises and learning trust and learning how to rely on other people . I think that's going to help me a lot.”

Mithers is a mechanical engineer for Raytheon, he's also in the Army Reserves. It was during his tour in Iraq in 2003 he developed PTSD.

He lost friends during Operation Iraqi Freedom including his sergeant. To this day he wears a black bracelet to honor his memory.

Last year No Barriers Warriors 10 day expedition was in the Grand Canyon. The veterans participated in mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging events. It gave them a chance to reflect on their past experiences. Mithers is hoping that opening up to other veterans will help him .

For the last four years, Raytheon has been underwriting this expedition, spending tens of thousands of dollars to help veterans such as Justin Mithers.

John Patterson is the communications director for Raytheon Missiles System Tucson. He said, “These service men and women sacrifice so much for us in the name of freedom in the battle space. When they come back from the battlefield

wounded either emotionally physically or mentally they need help sometimes reintegrating into society.

Meet Ricochet, a Service Dog Turned Surfer Dog

Melissa L. Kauffman  |  Sep 1st 2017

A service dog… who hangs 10 on surfboards to help people and kids with disabilities and military with PTSD? Meet Ricochet.

When a photo of surfer dog Ricochet came across my desk, I had to reach out to service-dog trainer and founder of the nonprofit Puppy Prodigies, Judy Fridono, to learn more.

Apparently Judy had intended for Ricochet to be a service dog. Just one pesky little problem — Ricochet loved to chase critters, which is risky behavior when you’re a service dog. But Judy still felt Ricochet had a service purpose.

“My idea was for her to fundraise for a 14-year-old boy who was getting rehab due to an accident that caused him to become quadriplegic,” she says. “He was an adaptive surfer, so I thought if they both rode their boards on the same wave, I could show people what they had in common to encourage donations.” Of course Ricochet had her own ideas. Although Ricochet and Patrick rode several waves side by side on their own boards, Ricochet then jumped off her board and onto Patrick’s. “She wanted to surf with him on the same board,” Judy says. “It was her idea, and we all trusted her. She has continued surfing with kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD ever since.”

Unbroken Warriors - Touch- A-Truck Event in Holmdel at Dearborn Market

Sat, September 23, 2017

11:00 am — 3:00 pm

Official Mission Statement.

Unbroken Warriors was established to provide veterans that are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the means to pursue effective residential treatment through various proven therapeutic techniques. Our goal is for all American war veterans to manage their PTSD symptoms and regain control of their lives.

About our Organization.

Unbroken Warriors was founded in 2016 in Holmdel, New Jersey by an American combat veteran afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The inspiration for creating this organization was from the innate desire to serve alongside other American war veterans in a new capacity.

Veterans Get The Thrill of a Lifetime With Windy Warrior Project

By Alyssa Thurlow | 

Back in July, the program took two veterans to the skies.

Sunday, the Windy Warriors program gave back to those veterans by giving them a sweet ride and the thrill of a lifetime.

"This is our first wave of ten veterans that we soon hope to turn into thousands."

Sunday, was the chance of a lifetime for these vets.

First, a ride in style to Vacationland Skydiving.

A place offering quite the rush for veterans across the state.

An idea that started out of the blue.


Virtual Reality for the Treatment of PTSD

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 3:39pm by Kenny Walter

For those who have experienced a traumatic even— such as a tragic car accident— it can sometimes be difficult to move on.

Virtual reality (VR) is giving therapists a new tool to help patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dawn Jewell, Ph.D., a psychologist based in Greeley, Colorado, is using virtual reality tools to help some of her patients who are suffering from PTSD return in a virtual setting to the scene of an accident or other location where a traumatic event in their lives may have occurred.

“I’m using it primarily as exposure therapy,” Jewell said, in an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine. “So a lot of times with PTSD there is a tendency to avoid any triggers, reminders, events that can bring on those memories of the event.

“So using exposure therapy in session I can go to a triggering place with a patient in the comfort of the therapy room and it can provide that exposure in a way that is less aversive, less frightening,” she added. “I know there is research in other areas like autism disorders, training, public speaking and a bunch of different areas.”

In Middletown, these amazing horses help veterans cope with PTSD

Jerry Carino, @njhoopshaven Published 5:00 a.m. ET Aug. 18, 2017

It was a moving scene as a group of suffering veterans experienced equine therapy for the first time. A chance meeting in the woods inspired the encounter.

ASB 0817 Atlantic Highlands PTSD horse therapy
Presto ID: 564301001Buy Photo

(Photo: Tanya Breen)


MIDDLETOWN - Kris Quinn ambled over to the horse, named Davis, not sure what to expect. He reached out gently, stroking Davis’ forehead. They stood face-to-face for a few minutes.

The rustle of a light summer breeze was the only sound between them.

Then Davis raised his head and rubbed his muzzle on Quinn’s cheek. It was a heart-melting gesture, and hopefully a healing one.

Like a dozen other military veterans who visited Serenity Stables Tuesday afternoon, Quinn has posttraumatic stress disorder. This was equine therapy, and the six horses on this 15-acre tract are the counselors. The program, “From Combat to Calm,” was founded in 2015 by Keyport native Rene Stone, who welcomes veterans free of charge as she juggles full-time work as a mortgage banker for HomeBridge Financial Services.

“It’s fascinating, what these animals do,” Stone said.

Veterans with PTSD now eligible for service dogs under new law

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression will be eligible for service dogs through a special program under legislation sponsored by Senator Andy Manar that was signed into law Friday.

“Service dogs often can offer companionship, stress-relief and motivation to veterans with PTSD or depression that friends and family may not be able to provide,” Manar said. “I am pleased that these veterans now are on the list of people in Illinois who can take advantage of the Helping Paws Service Dog Program and lead more fulfilling lives.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2897 into law Friday. The legislation was sponsored in the House by Republican State Rep. Dave Severin of Benton. The measure expands the list of eligible recipients of service dogs through the Helping Paws program to include veterans with PTSD or depression.

Here’s a chance to see art that helps heal the wounds of war

August 20

When service members leave the military, they often bear internal scars. Although those injuries can reverberate through every aspect of a person’s life, they can’t be seen.

Art therapy is used to make these inner struggles tangible and help heal those wounds. “Battle Signs: Using Art Therapy to Process TBI and PTS Injuries and Trauma,” a free exhibition at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, provides a glimpse into that creative process.

The exhibition showcases artwork produced by veterans in the Intrepid Spirit program at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. At Intrepid Spirit centers, veterans receive care for traumatic brain injuries, PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological conditions.

Works produced as part of art therapy aren’t made to be exhibited; they’re a chance to process private struggles. But through September, some service members’ therapy art is on display.

PTSD Symptoms Outlined

Published: August 25, 2017

Service members and veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have an overactive “fight or flight” response, military mental-health experts say.

“It is our body’s reaction to determine if we need to fight or flee,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jorielle Houston, who heads the practice-based implementation network for the Defense Department’s Deployment Health Center. “A series of neural and physiological mechanisms rapidly activate the nervous system to release stress hormones [adrenaline] that helps us to mobilize and avoid harm. It is an adaptive, instinctive response,” she said.

The symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Persistent re-experience of traumatic events, to include nightmares, flashbacks, or other distress
  • Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli
  • Trauma-related arousal and reactions

“When a separate stress reaction happens, people with PTSD are likely to have an increased flight or fight response. Research suggests that combat veterans have overactive fight or flight responses, which means higher adrenaline levels and less control of their heart rate in response to blood pressure changes,” Houston said.

Marine suffering from PTSD killed by police

Posted: Aug 24 2017 07:04PM EDT

Fox 2 spoke to the widow and father-in-law of Colton Puckett about the tragedy that happened on Sunhill Drive in Waterford. During their emotional interviews, they wanted to make the point that Colton Puckett was a good man who suffered from PTSD. He was shot and killed by police after he went on a violent rampage.
"I don't want anybody to think he was some sort of crazy person, because he was not. That's not him at all," said Kristen Puckett, Colton’s widow.

Tragedy struck at the home in the 2000 block of Sunhill Drive at 3:05 a.m. Thursday. Waterford Police received a 911 call. Kristen Puckett told the dispatcher she took her son away from the property after she was assaulted by her husband.

Man to run across Iowa spreading the word about PTSD

By CNN | 


Iowa (CNN) -- Joshua Jorgensen is an Iowa Army Veteran who is hoping to spread the word about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by running across the state of Iowa.

During the run, he is wearing a military-issued gas mask. Some are even calling him the masked veteran.

Jorgensen has been training for the past six months for the September run, a total of 330 miles. He is hoping to complete the run in ten days or less, running over 30 miles a day.

He says the mask represents the struggle many veterans face on a daily basis.

"It says I'm struggling with those same things, but I'm getting up every day and I'm doing this. I'm putting myself in an even bigger struggle, because I know there's an end and I can make it through it so, so can you," Jorgensen said.

Jorgenson is part of Team Fidelis, a nationwide group working to end the epidemic of veteran suicide. If you are a veteran struggling with PTSD, he says to visit or your local VA.

New PTSD study identifies potential path to treatment

July 18, 2017 by Bill Hathaway 18, 2017 by Bill HathawayA study of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—conducted by the VA National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), National PTSD Brain Bank, and Yale University—has identified a new potential mechanism contributing to the biodisorder that may be targeted by future treatments.

Among combat veterans, PTSD is a common and disabling condition that is associated with high suicide risk, and in some cases it is difficult to treat effectively. Patients—civilians with significant trauma history and veterans with combat-related or civilian trauma history—are commonly treated with a combination of psychological therapy and medications aimed at alleviating diverse symptoms, such as hyper-arousal and depression.

At present, there are two medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of PTSD symptoms, but the limited effectiveness of these medications results in patients being treated frequently with multiple medications that are not specifically approved for PTSD, note the researchers.

"We really need to examine what is happening at a molecular level so we can start developing novel efficacious therapies," said Sophie Holmes, postdoctoral research associate in the Yale Department of Psychiatry and lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Former Kern County Sheriff opens up about PTSD, symptoms


Jul 17 2017

Retired Kern County Sheriff Carl Sparks may be a name and a face you recognize, but his emotions are something many aren’t familiar with.

"It's a traumatic experience that officers will live with for the rest of his or her life. They will. They will remember that for the rest of their lives”, Sparks said, “And I don't care who you are, at some time, you're going to question what you did. And no matter whether the county, the city, or the state has ruled the officer's shooting was legal and justified only you can come to peace with that."

After 45 years, the image is still clear for Sparks. He shot and killed a burglary suspect.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 7 to 19 percent of police officers have PTSD symptoms compared to that of the public, 3.5 percent.

"What guy says I'm just doing my job and it is just doing your job, but when you lay your head on your pillow at nighttime it's a whole different ball game, just is" said Sparks.

A second study found police officers experience, on average, more than three traumatic incidents during a six-month period, which can lead to an increased risk of PTSD. 

"I have packages inside me, in my brain. Vietnam is in a nice package, all sewn up. The Sherriff's Department, the bad stuff from the Sheriff's Department, is in a package all sewn up”, said Sparks, “Anybody in law enforcement has got a lot of stuff that went on, that you just don't dwell on, you can't, because it'll mess you up.”

Imaging reveals how well PTSD patients will respond to psychotherapy

Stanford researchers measured brain activity in PTSD patients before and after psychotherapy and found that they could predict how well patients would respond to treatment.

Amit Etkin and his colleagues have found a way to predict which patients with PTSD will benefit from a treatment known as prolonged exposure therapy.
Leslie Williamson

A pair of studies led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine demonstrates that scientists can predict, with a high degree of accuracy, which patients with post-traumatic stress disorder will respond to a method of psychotherapy often used to treat the condition.

The researchers showed how the treatment, prolonged exposure therapy, works in the brains of PTSD patients and linked brain activity patterns to how well patients responded. The results could lead to personalized treatment for PTSD. The studies were published online July 18 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

“We understand vanishingly little about how psychotherapy works and for whom it works well,” said Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, the senior author of both studies and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. “It’s not even a knowledge gap — more like a knowledge ravine. This is especially an issue for PTSD because the only effective treatment is psychotherapy.”

Lead authorship of the papers is shared by Stanford postdoctoral scholar Gregory Fonzo, PhD, and former Stanford postdoctoral scholar Madeleine Goodkind, PhD, now a psychologist at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System and an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Did ancient warriors suffer PTSD too? Texts reveal that battles 3,000 years ago left soldiers traumatised by what they saw

  • UK researchers have found signs of PTSD up to 3,000 years ago
  • They say soldiers experiencing horrors of the battlefield is not just a phenomenon of modern warfare
  • The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon in 490BC
  • But scientists traced mention of 'shell shock' back to 1,300 BC

Ancient warriors armed with swords and spears from 3,000 years ago suffered from shell shock just like modern soldiers, according to a study.

Soldiers who experienced the horrors of the battlefield and were left with post traumatic stress disorder is not a phenomenon of modern warfare, say the researchers.

An analysis of ancient texts shows PTSD became common considerably earlier than previously believed, although the symptoms were explained away as 'the spirits of those enemies whom the patient had killed.'

UK researchers have found signs of PTSD up to 3,000 years ago. They say soldiers experiencing horrors of the battlefield (stock image shown) is not just a phenomenon of modern warfare. The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon, 490BC. Pictured is a Mycenaean Vase decorated with Bronze Age warriors

The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon 490BC but scientists traced mention of 'shell shock' back to 1,300 BC in ancient Mesopotamia

The study, published in Early Science and Medicine, said that while modern technology has increased the effectiveness and types of weaponry, 'ancient soldiers facing the risk of injury and death must have been just as terrified of hardened and sharpened swords, showers of sling-stones or iron-hardened tips of arrows and fire arrows.'

'The risk of death and the witnessing of the death of fellow soldiers appears to have been a major source of psychological trauma,' the researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Anglia Ruskin University wrote.

'Moreover, the chance of death from injuries, which can nowadays be surgically treated, must have been much greater in those days.

'All these factors contributed to post traumatic or other psychiatric stress disorders resulting from the experience on the ancient battlefield.'

Previously, the first documented instance of PTSD was Greek historian Herodotus' account of an Athenian spearman called Epizelus who lost his sight against the Persians in 49O BC at the Battle of Marathon and whose 'psychogenic mutism' followed.

But it now appears much earlier traumas were suffered in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, during the Assyrian Dynasty between 1300 and 609 BC.

Iraq War veteran and PTSD service dog form instant bond

Last Updated Jul 18, 2017 10:57 PM EDT

Nearly a decade after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, John Gerula is still struggling to fit back into his hometown of Windber, Pennsylvania.

The now 33-year-old Iraq War veteran signed up for the Marines at the age of 18 -- two weeks after working as a first responder during the September 11 attacks. Gerula's first disaster call as a junior firefighter was to the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.


John Gerula, 33, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years.

CBS News

"I was one of the first responders there. We were the first vehicle on the scene," Gerula told CBS News. "That actually pushed me to join the military. I graduated high school early to join the Marine Corps."

During his six years in the Marines, Gerula spent one year deployed in Iraq, served as part of a military intelligence unit and fought in "Operation Phantom Fury" -- the Second Battle of Fallujah, where U.S. troops fought against al Qaeda militants.

He survived numerous IED explosions.

"There were a lot of long, hot days in the sun and a lot of time off the Forward Operating Base," Gerula recalled.

When Gerula returned home in May 2007, he didn't think things would simply "go back to normal" -- but he never expected the transition to be as hard as it was.

He suffered from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has caused added anxiety and stress for the veteran.

"It's tough trying to fit back into a society where veterans are having a hard time getting back in," Gerula said. "It's easy to put the uniform on, but it's very hard to get back in society when you have been doing that for so long."

To help work through his challenges, Gerula receives weekly counseling at a nearby VA facility.

"It's been hard. Coming back ... there's not much support when it comes to veterans," Gerula said. "It was tough in the beginning, but there are some groups out there now that are starting to help veterans."

One of those groups, Gerula says, is American Humane.

It's through the non-profit's new Shelter to Service program, which rescues homeless pets from shelters across the country and trains them to become service dogs for veterans, that Gerula met his new best friend: Oliver.

Every Year, A Lone Marine Holds Salute For Fallen Soldiers

Every Memorial Day weekend since 1988, Rolling Thunder/Ride for Freedom has been held in Washington, DC, to raise awareness of the Prisoners of War–Missing in Action of all wars.

United States Marine Corps Veteran Staff Sergeant Tim Chambers is known to the world as The Saluting Marine for standing at attention for hours in the middle of the street during Rolling Thunder. In the video below, filmed in 2013, he held the salute for 3-4 hours while standing on concrete, surrounded by the bikers who zipped passed and around him. Despite having a broken wrist, Sgt. Chambers stood strong to perform his powerful act honoring veterans everywhere.

Sgt. Chambers stands with his makeshift memorial — boots, a rifle, flack jacket and Kevlar — displayed proudly at his feet. Over the years, families of fallen soldiers have donated personal items to symbolize their body and spirit.

The courageous feat is never lost on those who take part in Rolling Thunder. Many veterans stop on their bikes to salute to Sgt. Chambers, and thank him in return for upholding such a revered tradition.


This parade is guaranteed to restore your faith in America

May 27, 2017 | 9:49am

WASHINGTON — They come from every state in the country, many traveling for hours, most for days.

Nearly always on a motorcycle, nearly always with someone — more often than not with a large group — but always with one singular purpose: to honor their brothers and sisters who gave their lives for their country and to remind us all never to forget their sacrifice.

This is Rolling Thunder, a demonstration in Washington, DC, that began the Sunday before Memorial Day in 1987 when two Vietnam War veterans — Artie Muller and Ray Manzo — desperately wanted to highlight the prisoners of that war and those still listed as missing in action.

They came up with the crazy idea that a little motorcycle march on Washington might just get their cause some attention.

They figured if they asked folks to come in cars, it would look like nothing more than a beltway traffic jam. But if they came on bikes, they might get Washington’s notice.

Former President George W. Bush with Artie MullerGetty Images

How did they get the word out? A letter in Outlaw Biker magazine six months earlier. No hashtags. No tweets. No Facebook posts.

Muller and Manzo had no idea if anyone would show up.

Yet, turn up they did: That first year, 2,500 riders rumbled into town, a number that moved both men to tears.

Thirty years later, with a Rolling Thunder march happening annually every Memorial Day weekend, that number is now 900,000-strong, as the veterans march has morphed into a cultural movement that shows no signs of losing momentum. (Although Manzo is no longer involved in the march, Muller still runs Rolling Thunder out of his house in Neshanic, NJ.)


 National PTSD Awareness Day
Tuesday is National PTSD Awareness Day, which encourages everyone to raise public awareness of PTSD and effective treatments. The awareness program began in 2010.

National PTSD Awareness Day provides opportunity for education, recovery June 27, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. – June 27 is National PTSD Awareness Day, providing an opportunity for communities to become more educated about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), its causes and treatment options.

PTSD is a mental health problem that can happen to anyone who has been exposed to dangerous or deadly events, including military combat. Since 2009, the Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS) At Ease program has provided confidential, individualized counseling services and support groups for active military, veterans and their loved ones to treat the effects of trauma, including PTSD. Working in collaboration with At Ease USA, last year LFS helped more than 1,334 residents throughout the state of Nebraska, including many with PTSD.

Paul Greenwell, the LFS At Ease clinical supervisor and an Army National Guard member, believes anyone struggling to cope with trauma can have PTSD.

“I think people need to know that PTSD, and mental health issues in general, are not a sign of weakness,” Greenwell said. “What we’re discovering is that PTSD is the body’s way of dealing with extraordinary circumstances. We see this on a neurological level; we see this on a psychological level.”

According to Greenwell, those suffering from PTSD often struggle alone. They turn away from society, friends and family, and often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings of depression, anxiety, flashbacks or nightmares.

Fort Legion to host PTSD awareness event

A PTSD awareness event is coming to the Fort next week.

With National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day taking place on June 27, Fort Saskatchewan businesses and organizations are being called upon to help educate the public on PTSD and other mental health issues and what can be done combat them.

The first of its kind event will be held at the Fort Saskatchewan Legion on June 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“It’s an opportunity to support people at the community level, to get them in touch with the tools or programs that they could use to assist them,” said event creator and president and founder of the War Horse Awareness Foundation, Deanna Lennox.

She is hoping for businesses and organizations within the community providing resources, programs and services for people with PTSD and other mental health issues, to come out that evening and provide a ten minute presentation on what they offer.

PTSD often misunderstood

“I think there’s a misconception out there that everybody that has PTSD is in crisis all the time and that’s just not the case. I think a lot of people diagnosed with PTSD or struggling with a traumatic based injury or illness are just looking for ways to manage that,” she said.

Examples of coping methods she mentioned off hand were journaling, yoga and meditation.

The event is open to the general public and tables of information will be available.

Lennox is hoping this event will be successful and they are able to carry it on.

Those interested in having a table for the June 28th event can contact Lennox via email at, or call 780-909-2487.

For more information on PTSD visit,


How breakfast at this South Jersey diner became PTSD therapy for 200 veterans

June 23, 2017 — 7:28 PM EDT

His family was together and he was enjoying Father’s Day, until someone suggested they sit down and watch Hacksaw Ridge on TV. The Oscar-winning biopic spotlights a conscientious objector who courageously assists the dying and wounded on a World War II battlefield.

“It was a bad day for me,” the combat veteran told a roomful of peers at the Garden State Diner in Wrightstown.

It was Monday morning, and the PTSD support group was in session — over eggs, bacon, sausage, creamed chipped beef, and coffee. Also on the menu: how to cope with the daily challenges that sometimes sap their spirit.

For veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, gruesome movie scenes depicting body parts strewn across a bloody field are not entertainment. Many witnessed hell in real time.

“Fortunately, I fell asleep,” the veteran confided, without offering his name, and then abruptly ended his remarks.

Tony Capone, a social worker who leads the group in this unusual setting — the windowless back room of a diner in the heart of Burlington County farmland — stepped in.

“Well, I’m glad you fell asleep. And if anyone wants that gory stuff, they can watch it themselves,” he said, indignant at the lapse in sensitivity, or perhaps the lack of  awareness, about PTSD.

Horses helping veterans with PTSD

For some traumatized by war, the best therapy is bonding with and caring for horses



If a horse lets you pick its foot up off the ground, that’s a big deal. The action destabilizes the horse, so allowing someone to hold its foot means the horse believes the person means no harm.

At the Bergen Equestrian Center in Leonia, N. J., that sort of trust-building exercise isn’t just for the four-legged. A team of Columbia University researchers there is taking an unusual approach to treating post-traumatic stress disorder, by having veterans spend time with horses.

As it turns out, these people and animals have some important commonalities.

“Horses, by nature, they’re sort of prey animals, and so they’re hyper-vigilant and reactive to people’s behavior,” said Prudence Fisher, a professor of clinical psychiatric social work at Columbia, who has been co-directing the study for the past year. “If you approach them aggressively they’ll move away from you. So it helps people recognize how they’re approaching people.”

In the study, three or four veterans at a time spend 90 minutes with two horses and two staff members once a week for eight weeks, slowly learning to interact with and become comfortable with the animals and learning about themselves through them.

“The veterans feel that the horses are mirroring what they feel,” said Yuval Neria, a medical psychology professor at Columbia and the study’s other director. At the outset, “Both the horses and the vets kind of exhibit or even suffer from the same fear circuit-based behavior. They are both fearful, initially, they are both apprehensive, initially, they avoid being together initially, and over time they develop the ability to be together.”

The idea is to address PTSD, a signature disorder among veterans which has a host of emotional symptoms, from angry outbursts to difficulty sleeping to trouble concentrating to avoidance of trauma-related triggers. Pharmacological and traditional talk therapy are not always effective, so alternative approaches are on the rise.

Veterans suffering with PTSD receive service dogs

Saturday, June 24, 2017 6:41 PM EDT


A local charity held its inaugural event in Eunice today, which placed service dogs in the arms of military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Service dog programs have been proven to help veterans with the symptoms of PTSD, including depression, nightmares, and social anxiety.

While the Labrador puppies met their new owners, attendees enjoyed barbecue brisket. The plate lunches were sold in order to fund future events.

"It's great. [The puppy is] a little bit of a handful, but I'm more of a calm person, so I think our personalities balance us out. She's a kisser. She likes kisses and rubs," explains Krystal Fontenot.

Every day, twenty-two veterans commit suicide. That's almost one an hour every day. Service dog therapy has been proven to improve PTSD symptoms. 

"To be honest with you, the only word that can describe this is a blessing. You know, there's a lot of veterans that benefit from having a dog just because they are there for us, to love on and to help us out when we need," admits Timothy Nelams.

Risky Behavior Triggers Vicious Cycle for Vets With PTSD

  • Jun 23, 2017
  • FRIDAY, June 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Reckless behavior could worsen post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans, a new report suggests.

    The study of more than 200 U.S. veterans with PTSD found that risky behavior -- which is one symptom of PTSD -- creates a pattern of repeated stress that can have harmful results.

    The study was conducted by researchers at the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

    "For individuals with PTSD, exposure to new stressful events will often prolong their symptoms and can even make them worse. So, these findings suggest that treatment providers should ask trauma-exposed veterans about reckless behavior to make sure they are not engaging in harmful behaviors that could make their PTSD symptoms worse," study corresponding author Naomi Sadeh said in a VA news release.

    Besides having much higher rates of PTSD than civilians, veterans are more likely to engage in risky behavior. Their suicide risk is also about 50 percent higher, according to the VA.

    Veterans are more often jailed for violent offenses and are more likely than civilians to drive recklessly, be binge drinkers and problem gamblers, the researchers said.

"Hypervigilance sounds innocuous, but it is in fact exhaustingly distressing, a conditioned response to life-threatening situations...

Charles Marmar, a New York University professor who was on the team of the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, the most comprehensive study of combat stress ever conducted, points out that you really have to spend the money to treat PTSD, since the costs of not treating it are so much higher. “Personal tragedy, suicide, depression, alcohol and drug use, reliving terror,” he rattles off as consequences. “Stress-related health problems—cardiovascular, immunologic. Heart attacks, stroke, and even dementia. Residential rehab programs, and motor vehicle accidents because people with PTSD self-medicate and crash cars; the cost of domestic violence; the cost of children and grandchildren of combat vets witnessing domestic violence. The treatment and compensation disability programs have cost billions. And the costs of the untreated are probably in the tens of billions. They’re enormous.” Police time, court costs, prison time for sick vets who came home to commit soldier-style shoot-’em-ups or plain desperate crimes. Lost wages. Nonprofit assistance, outreach, social services. There are an estimated 100,000 homeless vets on the street on any given night.


Out of the Storm is an information and support site for adults with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), also known as Complex Trauma and in the case of children, Developmental Trauma. Complex PTSD is a psychological stress injury which may develop in childhood or adulthood.  It results from ongoing or repeated interpersonal trauma (e.g., emotional/sexual/physical abuse; neglect/abandonment; domestic violence), over which the child or adult has little or no control, and from which there is no real or perceived hope of escape.   This accumulation of trauma distinguishes Complex PTSD from the better known Post Traumatic Stress Order (PTSD) in which trauma typically involves a single, impersonal event or a group of events of limited duration (e.g., witnessing a tragedy, being the victim of a car accident, short term military combat exposure).  Please see "Complex PTSD as a Diagnosis" for further information.  For more about trauma (definition, types, defensive reactions), click here.

The Tip of the Iceberg?

Although there are no comprehensive statistics available regarding the incidence of Complex PTSD, Pete Walker (2013) gives us an indication of how many people may be suffering from this disorder when he writes, "Renowned traumatologist, John Briere, is said to have quipped that if Complex PTSD were ever given its due .... the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by all mental health professionals) would shrink to the size of a thin pamphlet."

We can, however, look to various organizations around the world to get an idea of just how many people may be suffering from Complex PTSD.  According to a study by the Centres for Disease Control in the United States in 2008 there were over three million reports of physical, sexual, psychological abuse and neglect cases involving 770,000 children from birth to age seventeen at a cost of 124 billion dollars in that year alone (Fang, Brown, Florence & Mercy, 2012).  Those who do not receive treatment are likely to develop Complex PTSD and comorbid physical and mental health conditions which involve ongoing costs for treatment and support services in adulthood.

Consider the following estimates of Australian adults suffering from childhood abuse and trauma (Kezelman, Hossack,  Stavroupoulos & Burley, 2015): 

Childhood trauma affects a very significant number of Australian adults. When considering child abuse alone i.e. sexual, physical and emotional there are an estimated 3.7 million adult survivors in Australia. For childhood trauma[2] more broadly the number is an estimated at 5 million Australian adults. [2. Wider definitions of childhood trauma include, in addition to abuse in all its forms, neglect, growing up with domestic and community violence and the traumatic impact on children in experiencing a parental divorce or other relationship breakdown, death of a parent, an alcoholic or drug addicted parent, or a parent affected by mental illness or other significant mental health problem.]

Five million in Australia alone.

The World Service Organization for Adult Children of Alcoholics estimates that as many as 300 million adults around the world are traumatically affected by addiction.   And yet this is only the tip of the iceberg.  When one factors in those who suffer ongoing exposure to other forms of trauma such as poverty, homelessness, discrimination, exploitation and extrapolates, the numbers are staggering to contemplate.

Another Round: The Link Between Alcoholism and Trauma

By Liz Lazzara 04/07/17

I’m not proud of what I did, but every shred of me felt helpless, like the men I’d chosen to rescue me from my bruised and battered past were fixing to betray me.

A stressed woman with beer.

Make life fun to forget the troubles.

When I first met my husband at twenty-three, alcohol was for dealing with things I didn’t know how to identify yet. I’d go to the bar with my Applebees coworkers after closing shifts to wash away the pain in my back and body along with whatever weighed most heavily on my mind that day. And almost anything qualified: a string of iffy texts from my emotionally abusive sort-of-ex; a voicemail from my all-around-abusive father, trying to get in good with me after five years of no contact; my mother trying to manipulate me into being her confidante or caretaker; another week of lost sleep due to recurring nightmares about either incest or the apocalypse. Tall glasses of Rolling Rock —at least three 22oz pours— made any or all of that slip away for a little while. I’d drive home in a mellow haze, a half-smile on my reckless face, and nothing past could catch me.

Until I was 28, no one explained to me that the dark things that had accumulated across my life from birth to the present day came with a price: complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), a condition that results in the symptoms of “regular” PTSD but that stems from a different source — prolonged trauma beginning in childhood. According to an article in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, C-PTSD can be caused by anything from repetitive harm or neglect from a caregiver, intimate partner violence, becoming a prisoner of war, or spending time in a concentration camp or cult. In my case, the problematic relationships I had with my parents (and that they had with each other) branched out into problematic relationships with men and, in the wake of my college graduation, the symptoms began.

June 2017

Identified brain circuitry bridges neural and behavioral roles in PTSD

Specific cerebral circuitry bridges chemical changes deep in the brain and the more outward behavioral expressions associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which could lead to more objective biomarkers for the disorder, according to a comprehensive review of rapidly changing data published June 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this latest, comprehensive review, the authors -- from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center (CVC) in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and the University of Michigan/Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Health Systems Mental Health Service - have identified four neural-behavioral models associated with PTSD. These models pinpoint specific circuits in the brain that "mediate" between chemical changes - which are being examined as possible PTSD biomarkers - and the expression of certain characteristics often associated with PTSD. These include fear responses, avoidance of trauma reminders, impaired emotional balance and the persistence of defensive responses despite a safe environment.

"These neural-behavioral models account for, and help further explain, many of the peripheral findings in PTSD," says study co-author Israel Liberzon, MD, professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience from University of Michigan. "These models will be valuable roadmaps in examining whether certain PTSD-related behaviors have particular chemical roots. This, in turn, could advance the identification of objective biomarkers for PTSD."

June 2017

'Combat Medicine:' Afghanistan Vet Seeks To Help Others Through Hip-Hop

There is no one sure way to reach combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or substance abuse. But a new hip-hop album called Combat Medicine, released Wednesday, might help. It was written and performed by George "Mik" Todd, who goes by the name Doc Todd. He's a former Fleet Marine Force corpsman — essentially a combat medic — who served alongside the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.

Todd's style is tough and direct in a way that only one veteran can be to another. In the song "Not Alone," he urges veterans to take action in their own recovery.

PTSD: What it is and how to spot it

Fox News

Infantry Soldier Tom Voss suffered from severe PTSD after serving in Iraq. He found relief from a completely holistic therapy; Sudarshan Kriya Yoga


The month of June is designated to bring awareness to post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health problem that can afflict people following a traumatic event.

Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event — an assault, accident or warfare, just to name a few — can experience symptoms of PTSD.

Read on to find out more about the disorder and how it is treated.

Is PTSD a problem in the U.S.?

The National Center for PTSD estimates that 7 to 8 percent of the U.S. population will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. That means about 8 million adults will have PTSD during a given year, the center predicts.

U.S. Army commissions $2M study to research injection to treat PTSD

The U.S. army is experimenting with an anesthetic injection to the neck that doctors believe alleviates symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder — and has commissioned a study to determine its efficacy.

The $2 million Army study is the first of its kind into the use of the shots — called stellate ganglion blocks — to treat PTSD, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The injections, which block messages along nerve fibers that influence the fight-or-flight response, are commonly used to relieve arm pain and to treat shingles.

Some military doctors have already begun treating PTSD patients, particularly Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, with the shot.

Marine veteran holds concert to raise money, awareness for those with PTSD

WALTON, Ky. -- Marine veteran John Preston said he used to rely on alcohol to curb his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Back then I was battling with something I didn't even know I had. I was dealing with post traumatic stress. I was drinking to blackout,” Preston said.

But that all changed when his older brother, who was also a Marine veteran, took his own life.

Preston said that was the moment he knew he couldn’t keep quiet.

"It shot a spark in me,” Preston said. “I was already doing it, and it altered and changed everything it was to make this as loud as possible. There's no stage, but the top of the world."

Preston now battles PTSD through his music.

To Improve Awareness, We Must Call PTSD What It Is: A Disorder

June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. Well, at least according to the National Center for PTSD. According to lawmakers, however, June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month. And while dropping the letter “D” may seem trivial, doing so could have far-reaching implications, and not the positive ones that Congress has in mind.  

One year ago this month, two U.S. senators put forth a bill to remove the “D” in PTSD in declaring June’s awareness campaign. The move marked the fourth year in a row that the senators had proposed the bill and that the Senate had unanimously passed it. The logic behind the change, according to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, is that the word “disorder” carries a stigma that may dissuade those with symptoms from seeking treatment. Many organizations, treatment centers, public forums, and individual advocates have followed suit, and have begun referring to the condition as PTS instead of PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder's effect on U.S. veterans explored on CBS Radio News

Here's a frightening statistic: Every day, some 22 American heroes take their own lives because of the stresses they experienced on the battlefield. Many more don't seek treatment and find their lives spiraling out of control.

"60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft will host "Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home," a special radio hour exploring the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on our nation's veterans to be broadcast during Memorial Day weekend.

The hour, a partnership between CBS News and CBS Cares - the award-winning public service campaign of the CBS Corporation - will be produced by CBS Radio News.

If you need help, or know someone who does, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, or you can text at 838255 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's also information online at

After years-long fight, Colorado approves medical marijuana treatment for PTSD

DENVER – Coloradans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will now be able to treat their conditions with doctor-approved medical marijuana, bringing a close to a years-long fight.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17 Monday, which will allow physicians, after consultation and a medical background review, to prescribe patients suffering from doctor-diagnosed PTSD with medical marijuana treatments.

Colorado joins at least 20 other states, as well as Washington D.C. and two U.S. territories, to allow medical pot treatments for PTSD.

Medical marijuana users approved for PTSD treatments will have to adhere to the state’s normal rules for medical marijuana: They will only be able to have up to 2 ounces of usable product and no more than six plants at a time—only three of which can be mature and flowering. But they will also be allowed to petition their primary caregiver for more.

The fight to get PTSD covered as a medical condition for medical marijuana use has been ongoing for years.

Tractors roll through Missouri town to help veterans struggling with PTSD

By FOX 4 Kansas City Published June 04, 2017

A group of tractor owners hit the road in the first ever American Legion Tractor Cruise to benefit veterans struggling with PTSD.

A group of tractor owners hit the road in the first ever American Legion Tractor Cruise to benefit veterans struggling with PTSD.  (FOX 4 Kansas City)

A group of Northland tractor owners hit the road Saturday in the first ever American Legion Tractor Cruise. It's all to benefit veterans struggling with PTSD.

A sunny Saturday in Platte Ridge Park.

It's the perfect place for quiet a pitstop. Quiet for a little while, but try having a conversation over the roar of 22 tractors.

Almost two dozen tractor owners drove their restored pieces of history through a 40-mile stretch of the Northland.

"Everybody smiles. You wave at folks, they wave back. They love the tractors and every tractor has its own story," said Lenny Hill with American Legion Post 445 in Edgerton.

"At 15 miles an hour, you can kind of look the country over. At 70 miles an hour in a car, you don't see anything except the car in front of you," said Mark Wagoner.

While the ride is leisurely and the day was fun, the reason behind the cruise is much more serious.

"PTSD is one of those diseases that will attack you when you're not looking at it. It's debilitating."

Lenny Hill said this is the first-ever American Legion Tractor Cruise in the country.

They're riding to raise money to give veterans service dogs to help cope with PTSD something many military members battle.

Veterans, lawmakers team up to treat PTSD with dogs

Fox News

Marine Corps veteran Cole Lyle wants to help give his fellow service members a sense of purpose again — one dog at a time.

Over the past few years, Lyle, 27, has devoted much of his time to meeting with lawmakers and testifying before Congress, aiming to change how the Department of Veterans Affairs serves its vets. The result: the House is reconsidering the PAWS Act.

The PAWS Act — or Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act of 2017 — was reintroduced last month and would implement a pilot program to allow for the VA to provide service dogs to veterans with a mental disability such as post-traumatic stress disorder, a service the government doesn’t already provide.

According to the VA’s website, service dogs are provided to veterans “to do specific tasks for a person that he or she cannot do because of a disability,” such as, pick things up, guide a visually-impaired veteran or help someone who has fallen.

But with the rapid rise of suicide and opioid dependency among veterans, it’s important to change that, Lyle told Fox News.

“As a nontraditional treatment, this has no negative benefits,” Lyle said of service dogs. “The veteran community has been absolutely beat up by the opioid epidemic. A lot of veterans have been committing suicide due to exasperating symptoms because of opioids.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., a sponsor of the legislation and Navy veteran, said he’s seen firsthand how multiple deployments can impact veterans.

“As a veteran, I know the toll that it takes on some of these guys who have done three, four, five deployments,” DeSantis, 38, said. “That’s just not a normal thing to do for a human being, and there’s going to be invisible scars that are left by that. It’s an important issue to deal with.”


What is post-traumatic stress disorder, how is PTSD treated and what are the signs?

Mental scarring can be just as debilitating as physical wounds

IN the aftermath of the devastating Manchester terror attack, mental health experts warn that survivors may be battling with post traumatic stress disorder.

Dr Danese warned that around ‘one in three’ people at the Ariana Grande concert “will develop more enduring mental health problems”, such as PTSD. Here’s all you need to know about the mental condition…

Following the tragic terrorist attack in Manchester, health experts have warned that those swept up in events may begin battling PTSD

Getty Images


Following the tragic terrorist attack in Manchester, health experts have warned that those swept up in events may begin battling PTSD

What is PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by stressful, frightening or distressing events.

The first cases of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were documented during the First World War, between 1914 and 1918. Soldiers developed ‘shell shock’ as a direct result of the harrowing conditions in the trenches, and the horrors they had to witness, but it occur for a number of reasons.

PTSD hit headlines during WWI, when hundreds of soldiers were diagnosed with 'shell shock'

Getty Images


PTSD hit headlines during WWI, when hundreds of soldiers were diagnosed with ‘shell shock’

Almost half of women who miscarry are thought to show signs of PTSD, while American doctors have now approved trials to treat PTSD with ecstasy.

Some 12 in 100 Gulf War Veterans develop the illness, as do many British soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years.

People affected by the condition are often forced to relive a traumatic event from their past, through a series of nightmares and flashbacks.

They may also experience feelings of isolation, guilt, irritability, insomnia, and a lack of concentration.

In many cases, these symptoms have a serious impact on the person’s day-to-day life.

It can also affect a person’s ability to drive – so sufferers should inform the DVLA of their conditions.

PTSD was officially recognised as a mental health condition by American psychiatrists in 1980.

Causes of PTSD

The causes of PTSD include, but are not limited to:
* Serious road accidents
* Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
* Prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
* Witnessing violent deaths
* Military combat
* Being held hostage
* Terrorist attacks
* Natural disasters e.g. severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis.

What are the signs of post traumatic stress disorder?

  • Re-experiencing: This is the most common symptom.
  • It often takes the form of flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive and distressing images or sensations, sweating, pain, nausea and trembling.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding certain people and places that remind the person of the experience.
  • Many people avoid talking about the trauma – and may distract themselves with work or hobbies.
  • Some people attempt to numb their emotions completely, which can lead to them becoming isolated and withdrawn.
  • Hyper-arousal: Leading to angry outbursts, irritability, insomnia and a lack of concentration.
  • Other mental health problems: Including depression, anxiety or phobias.
  • Self-harming or drug/alcohol misuse.
  • Physical symptoms: Headaches, dizziness, chest pains and tummy aches.
  • In children: Bed wetting, separation anxiety or re-enacting traumatic events through their play.

Wounded Troops Discharged for Misconduct Often Had PTSD or T.B.I.

Three-fifths of troops discharged from the military for misconduct in recent years had a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or another associated condition, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

Top 10 charities that support veterans

Helping veterans and their families

As the year draws to a close, there are no shortage of charities and other philanthropic organizations seeking financial support. Yet before the holiday distractions take hold, donors use this time of the year to remember the sacrifices made by the men and women serving in the U.S. military, and to support causes that help them when they return home.

One of the most important aspects to investigate before giving to a veterans' charity—or any charitable organization—is how much of the money donated actually goes to the cause being supported, and how much is earmarked for administrative expenses. Several services—such as Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Watch—provide information about a charity's functions, finances, and management. These three services happen to be free, although others charge both the site user and the charity to be rated.

Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing for Charity Navigator, says at least 75 percent of donations should go toward programs. "If a charity's financials show that just pennies on the dollar are going towards the programs they support, that's a red flag and you should probably direct your donations somewhere else," she says.

Below are some of the highest rated charities helping veterans groups and their families, according the Charity Navigator. Their ratings are based on financial health, accountability, and the transparency of reporting.

—By Susan Caminiti

Support Veterans and Active Duty Service members

t’s clear that Americans love, respect, and honor our troops. Thousands of civilian donate a part of their income and time  to charities that are dedicated to serving the brave individuals who sacrifice to keep us safe. In fact, people donate more than $2.5 billion annually to the over 40,000 American charities with military related missions. Many of these charities are financially responsible, accountable and transparent, and do phenomenal work. Some charities, however, are not as financially responsible, accountable and transparent, and may not be helping our troops and veterans as effectively.

We’ve curated this list to help identify highly rated charities that have demonstrated financial responsibility as shown on their public filings. These organizations provide various services from lifting troops’ morale to financial assistance for food, rent, utilities, and medical expenses.

How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield

Though only 10 percent of American forces see combat, the U.S. military now has the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in its history.

he first time I experienced what I now understand to be post-traumatic stress disorder, I was in a subway station in New York City, where I live. It was almost a year before the attacks of 9/11, and I’d just come back from two months in Afghanistan with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance. I was on assignment to write a profile of Massoud, who fought a desperate resistance against the Taliban until they assassinated him two days before 9/11. At one point during my trip we were on a frontline position that his forces had just taken over from the Taliban, and the inevitable counterattack started with an hour-long rocket barrage. All we could do was curl up in the trenches and hope. I felt deranged for days afterward, as if I’d lived through the end of the world.

By the time I got home, though, I wasn’t thinking about that or any of the other horrific things we’d seen; I mentally buried all of it until one day, a few months later, when I went into the subway at rush hour to catch the C train downtown. Suddenly I found myself backed up against a metal support column, absolutely convinced I was going to die. There were too many people on the platform, the trains were coming into the station too fast, the lights were too bright, the world was too loud. I couldn’t quite explain what was wrong, but I was far more scared than I’d ever been in Afghanistan.

News. Hollywood. Style. Culture.
For more high-profile interviews, stunning photography, and thought-provoking features, subscribe now to Vanity Fair magazine.

I stood there with my back to the column until I couldn’t take it anymore, and then I sprinted for the exit and walked home. I had no idea that what I’d just experienced had anything to do with combat; I just thought I was going crazy. For the next several months I kept having panic attacks whenever I was in a small place with too many people—airplanes, ski gondolas, crowded bars. Gradually the incidents stopped, and I didn’t think about them again until I found myself talking to a woman at a picnic who worked as a psychotherapist. She asked whether I’d been affected by my war experiences, and I said no, I didn’t think so. But for some reason I described my puzzling panic attack in the subway. “That’s called post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said. “You’ll be hearing a lot more about that in the next few years.”

I had classic short-term (acute) PTSD. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s exactly the response you want to have when your life is in danger: you want to be vigilant, you want to react to strange noises, you want to sleep lightly and wake easily, you want to have flashbacks that remind you of the danger, and you want to be, by turns, anxious and depressed. Anxiety keeps you ready to fight, and depression keeps you from being too active and putting yourself at greater risk. This is a universal human adaptation to danger that is common to other mammals as well. It may be unpleasant, but it’s preferable to getting eaten. (Because PTSD is so adaptive, many have begun leaving the word “disorder” out of the term to avoid stigmatizing a basically healthy reaction.)

Because PTSD is a natural response to danger, it’s almost unavoidable in the short term and mostly self-correcting in the long term. Only about 20 percent of people exposed to trauma react with long-term (chronic) PTSD. Rape is one of the most psychologically devastating things that can happen to a person, for example—far more traumatizing than most military deployments—and, according to a 1992 study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, 94 percent of rape survivors exhibit signs of extreme trauma immediately afterward. And yet, nine months later 47 percent of rape survivors have recovered enough to resume living normal lives.

Combat is generally less traumatic than rape but harder to recover from. The reason, strangely, is that the trauma of combat is interwoven with other, positive experiences that become difficult to separate from the harm. “Treating combat veterans is different from treating rape victims, because rape victims don’t have this idea that some aspects of their experience are worth retaining,” says Dr. Rachel Yehuda, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and director of traumatic-stress studies at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Yehuda has studied PTSD in a wide range of people, including combat veterans and Holocaust survivors. “For most people in combat, their experiences range from the best to the worst of times,” Yehuda adds. “It’s the most important thing someone has ever done—especially since these people are so young when they go in—and it’s probably the first time they’re ever free, completely, of their societal constraints. They’re going to miss being entrenched in this very important and defining world.”

OHS student marches to raise awareness of PTSD

An Oregon High School sophomore marched around the city Saturday morning in honor and recognition of veterans who battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder every day.

In January, Conner Young pledged his support to Mission 22, an organization that raises funds and awareness to help get veterans treatment for PTSD before they become part of a grim statistic.

The statistic, taken from the Department of Veterans Affairs 2012 suicide data report, says 22 veterans commit suicide every day due to struggle with PTSD.

Emboldened by the information, Young dedicated his Open Program project to Mission 22, resolving to raise at least $3,000 for the group and walk 22 miles around Oregon - one mile for each veteran who takes their own life daily.

The morning of May 6, Young made good on his goal: he raised $3,700 to date, and completed his 22-mile march in six hours, 45 minutes.

Veteran’s and service dog’s cross-country walk casts light on PTSD

(ASHEVILLE, S.C.) — One step at a time, Joe Copeland is hoping to draw attention to post-traumatic stress disorder and its impact on the military.

In April, the Navy veteran, along with his service dog Molly, embarked on a cross-country trek from Virginia.

Copeland averages 10 miles per day on his feet, but his heart and mind are never far from former service members who fight, and sometimes lose, the battle with PTSD.

“They’re soldiers dropped into suburbia, and everything they’ve been trained on how to handle situations with violence and military training doesn’t apply anymore,” Copeland told the ABC affiliate in South Carolina, WLOS-TV.

The struggle is personal for Copeland, who was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in combat zones in Iraq and Kuwait.

“I have a lot of nightmares still to this day, and I’ve been out since 2006,” he said.

Copeland’s trek means months away from his wife and two sons, but the importance behind his mission keeps him going.

“If I can inspire one soldier, sailor, Marine to choose life because of what I’m doing, it’s worth it,” he said.

Why More Women Have PTSD Than Men But Fewer Are Diagnosed

Women are twice as likely to get the mental illness but take far longer to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment. It's time to start getting women the care they really need.

Here's a heartbreaking fact: More than half of women will suffer at least one serious trauma in their life, and experiencing trauma can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, a devastating mental illness that affects about 10 percent of women, according to the National Center for PTSD. Worse? Women experience PTSD at twice the rate of men yet take far longer to receive a correct diagnosis and are misdiagnosed more often than men.

But because we most often hear about PTSD in the context of male veterans, most of the research has been done on men. Many even consider it a "man's disease," and this blind spot leaves many female sufferers undiagnosed, untreated, and feeling terribly alone.

The Torment of a Distant War

A Navy corpsman longs to make peace with the memories of fallen comrades. But healing comes slowly when you’re changed forever.

It didn’t take long to fill up the landing craft. Maybe two or three minutes. Just enough time to look up into the faces of the soldiers and Marines, three deep, lining the edge of the ship.

For the first time since the USS General Gordon had set sail from Okinawa two weeks earlier, there was no horseplay. Instead, the mood was reverent. Nobody spoke. Only the occasional cry of the seabird and creak of a landing craft gate broke the silence. We all knew what the other was thinking. Some of us would be going home in body bags.

The author of this personal story about living PTSD and survivor's guilt sits with a group of other combat corpsmen in Vietnam

The author (center) and other field corpsmen in Vietnam wait for transportation back to rear lines, 1968.

I knew at least a dozen corpsmen who died there. Of the eight corpsmen who sailed over on the General Gordon with me in 1967, half didn’t make it back.

The expression on each man’s face was the same. You could almost read the question, “Will you be the unlucky one, or will it be the guy next to you? If I'm the unlucky one, will it be because I decide to do this instead of that? When the shit hits the fan, will I be brave? Can I hack it? Will I make it back home in one piece?

“If you ‘get it’ and I don't, am I worthy of that special blessing?”

I was surrounded by death in Vietnam. No one needs to tell me how lucky I was. Statistics weren’t on my side. I was a field corpsman, a prized target.

I knew at least a dozen corpsmen who died there. Of the eight corpsmen who sailed over on the General Gordon with me in 1967, half didn’t make it back. I still wonder why I survived and those others didn’t. Feeling deserving is so unthinkable. How could I ever feel equal to those who gave it up? They seemed so much more heroic than I was. If they were so much more than me, why am I still here and they’re not?

I've been dealing with this for decades. It’s called “survivor's guilt,” a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sometimes I think I have most of this PTSD and guilt resolved. Other times I feel nothing has changed. I’m always rehashing the past, turning things over and over in my mind. I feel like I'm under constant scrutiny. I avoid group attention. I dread the thought of others considering my faults and imperfections. I fear other combat vets won’t think me worthy of being called “Doc,” a title of respect given to field corpsmen and medics. On bad days, I have a hard time accepting the title myself.

In Vietnam, I always felt ill-prepared. I now realize that I was in fact highly trained. But I still wonder how some of those men and women I worked on would have fared had they been tended by another corpsman.

The self-criticism never stops. I am my own worst enemy.

THE WAR AT HOME: Iraq veteran says family court using PTSD treatment against him

- War veterans are told to get the help they need for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), but one Twin Cities man said the help he received is now being used against him in his child custody case.

David Carlson told the FOX 9 Investigators he hasn’t seen his two 10-year old daughters, identical twins, in nearly a year. 

"They're amazing they're the light of my life and taught me how to love and be compassionate,” Carlson said. "If you can't come back and take care of your own kids after serving what's the point of leaving your family if you’re going to lose everything in the process?"

Air Force Cadets Dismissed Him As 'Grandpa' Who Swept Floors--Until Student Found Out His Hero Past

James Moschgat recounts the story as if it were yesterday. He was nearing graduation from the Air Force Academy and ready to start his life as a military aviator.

James Moschgat/With Permission

His life's path was dictated by whichever way he directed his joy stick. He had it all — and the swagger, too.

He told Independent Journal Review:

“I drove a Corvette, had a hot girlfriend and was going off to be an F-16 pilot.”

There wasn't a lot of room for much else in his life. The people who prepared his meals and the old man who cleaned the toilets and swept the floors were bit players, not stars in the cadets' lives.

As Moschgat put it, these folks didn't get much notice from the cadets because they had to double-time it everywhere:

“...We cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes...”

And then one day while doing research, he had a revelation about the old man who scrubbed the floors and toilets of his cadet dormitory.

Moschgat wrote:

“I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On Sept. 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy.”

He wondered if the “Private William Crawford” from Colorado possibly could be the “Bill Crawford” the cadets dismissed as an “old grandpa,” as he put it to Independent Journal Review.

PTSD and Me: True Stories From Military Veterans

Last week, we asked military veterans to send us their stories of life after war— their experiences returning home and seeking health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, we offer you some of their stories.

In the past week, we've heard from not only veterans, but also from family members of veterans, both living and deceased; from doctors who work with the VA; from journalists who've covered the VA; and from various contractors and private citizens who deal with the VA in various capacities. With all of their input in mind, we'd like to make two points about what we're trying to do:

1) The much-discussed backlog of disability claims at the VA— about half a million claims have been pending for more than four months— is primarily an administrative and political issue, not a medical one. The problem is one of processing benefits claims, and the resources that we choose to dedicate to processing claims. Doctors and other medical professionals who work for the VA are not the source of this problem. (To be fair, we've also heard from people who've worked processing VA benefits claims, who allege that vets often try to rip off the government for benefits. Everyone has a point of view.)

2) Our general goal is simply to give a platform to veterans to share their experiences on the homefront. This is not meant to be an exhaustive report on all of the issues facing the Department of Veterans Affairs. Collections of first-person stories, like this, or our Unemployment Stories, are to be taken for what they are: people directly sharing stories about their own experiences. All personal stories are subject to biases, the subtle distortions of memory, and whatnot. The value of these stories is the opportunity for people who do not usually get a voice to speak, and the opportunity for all of us to hear stories that we don't usually get to hear. These are personal histories freely shared, and taken together, they paint a picture of reality that it is hard to find elsewhere.

And now, some stories of life as a United States military veteran.


I am a veteran of several trips to Iraq.

I have been diagnosed with fairly severe PTSD (I can still function and work(some days I have to go and sit in my car because I just feel out of control of my own emotions(God bless my boss who knows about my situation but employs me and covers for me), but there are usually several days a month where my wife has to make sure she and my toddler son basically need to stay away from me because I can get pretty emotionally unstable for reasons I still can't explain because I have yet to really put a better finger on my triggers). After leaving the military, I spent almost a decade fucking, fighting, and having random emotionally erratic episodes and just chalking it up to drinking (I became a drunk) and partying (my family and friends noticed a marked difference in me, but were too worried to mention it to me (temper issues)).

4 Feel-Good Veteran Stories That Will Make You Proud To Be An American

War vet takes his high school sweetheart to prom at age 89, gets crowned Senior Prom King

 Between finding a date and the perfect dress, prom is a pretty important event for high schoolerswhether the memories that come along with it are good or bad.

For Ralph Wozniak of Riverdale, Florida, the big dance wasn’t an option. Even though he’s been married to his high school sweatheart, LaVerne, for 66 years he never got the chance to ask her to prom, ABC affiliate WFTS reports.

Wozniak was deployed overseas during World War II and again in the Korean War, causing him to miss both of his opportunities to go to the dance. More than six decades later, the couple got their chance to attend Prom for the first time, thanks to the Hillsborough County Aging Services who hosted a Senior Prom.

“Everybody was dressed so beautifully and everybody felt like a queen,” LaVerne told WFTS.

To top it off, Ralph’s name was picked out of a hat and he was named the prom king.

“I got out of my line and gave him a kiss because I said, ‘That's my husband, that's the king,’” LaVerne told WFTS.

Flag Counter