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PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


What is it?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been around for a very long time.  Military medicine has recognized this condition with a variety of labels.  During the Civil War the condition was called “Soldier’s Heart.”  By WWI, “Battle Fatigue.”  Korean War veterans were diagnosed with “War Neurosis,” and “Vietnam Syndrome” was the label for that generation of veterans.  VA was service connecting former combatants with a “Nervous Condition” or some other type of disorder prior to the advent of PTSD.


PTSD may occur after a person has been exposed to a trauma in which the person experienced or witnessed an event that caused death, serious injury, or mass destruction.  This could include events that occur in war, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism, crime or abuse.  For veterans, in particular, stressful traumatic events include combat zones, peacekeeping missions, training accidents, disasters, medical emergencies, and assaults.  These events cause the survivor to react with intense fear, helplessness, hopelessness and terror.


Symptoms of PTSD include,

But are not limited to:


♦Recurrent, intrusive, and distressing thoughts about the event

♦Recurrent dreams, nightmares (sometimes called “night terrors”) about the event

♦Flashbacks (a sense of reliving the event)

♦Distress caused by reminders of the event (sights, sounds, smells)

♦Alienation, isolation, and avoidance of people and places

♦Emotional numbing

♦No sense of future

♦Survivor guilt (for having survived when others did not, or for behavior required for survival)

♦Difficulty falling or staying asleep

♦Anger and rage

♦Difficulty concentrating or remembering

♦Hyper-vigilant, or survivalist behavior

♦Exaggerated startled response (usually to loud noises)


These symptoms may lead to substance abuse or other self-destructive behavior.



If your PTSD is related to your service in the military, you may be eligible for service-connected compensation.  You will need a copy of your DD214 and proof of stressor from your military records.  The following are proof of stressful events for presumptive service connection.  I you are a combat veteran and received any of the following decorations, you can submit them as evidence of a stressful event.


♦Air Force Cross

♦Air Medal with “V” device

♦Army Commendation medal with “V” device

♦Bronze Star with “V” device

♦Combat Action Ribbon “CAR”

♦Combat Infantryman Badge “CIB”

♦Combat Medic Badge “CMB”

♦Distinguished Flying Cross

♦Distinguished Service Cross

♦Joint Service Commendation Medal with “V” device

♦Navy Cross

♦Parachutist Badge with Bronze Star

♦Prisoner of War Medal

♦Purple Heart

♦Silver Star

♦Medal of Honor



Ron French, Vice President

Talking to Senator John Kerry in 1999 about the effects of PTSD on Vietnam Veterans and Homelessness among veterans.

© 2014 by Heather French Foundation for Veterans, Inc.

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