Alterations In Arousal And Reactivity
In individuals with PTSD, the brain and body experience a continued sense of danger long after the actual threat has passed. In particular, the amygdala, the region of the brain that processes fear and emotion, remains unusually active as if life-threatening danger remained present.
Accordingly, veterans with PTSD may experience an ongoing sense of being on guard, which mental health experts term hypervigilance. This heightened awareness and reactivity to ones surroundings can translate to the following difficulties, either while on active duty or post-deployment:
- Irritability or a propensity to angry outbursts
- Reckless, dangerous, or self-destructive behavior
- Being easily startled
- Excessive wariness regarding ones environment
- Problems with attention or concentration
- Difficulty sleeping
How To Prevent Ptsd
Traumatic experiences are a part of the job for military services members, just as they are for many first responders. However, that doesnt necessarily mean that PTSD has to be inevitable for some people. There are several ways that military service members can prepare for and respond to traumatic events that may help prevent PTSD. With more awareness about the risks of PTSD, people with high-risk jobs have more options to help safeguard against this disorder.
Ptsd And Veterans: Breaking Down The Statistics
Because of the nature of their service, military veterans face particular risk of experiencing traumatic events and subsequently developing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Drawing from the latest authoritative research, this page presents several important statistics pertaining to the incidence of PTSD among United States veterans.
Youll also find helpful information related to the nature of the disorder, the mental health problems it causes, and how it can be effectively treated. Though post-traumatic stress disorder is alarmingly common among Americas veterans, there are valuable resources, treatments, and mental health care available to those recovering from military-related trauma.
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Im Embarrassed To Have Ptsd
If people with PTSD see it as a sign of weakness or damage, they may feel ashamed or secretive about it. Thismay be especially true if the person has angry outbursts, flashbacks or other symptoms of PTSD when inpublic.
Embarrassment and shame can lead trauma survivors to withdraw or keep quiet about their problems. But thiscan backfire and leave them isolated and unsupported.
Remember: PTSD is a normal response to abnormal circumstances.
How Common Is Ptsd With Veterans
It has been estimated by the VA that 11 to 30 percent of veterans suffer from PTSD, with varying generational prevalence rates. This makes veterans at least twice as likely to end up with a PTSD diagnosis as the civilian population. As a member of the armed services, individuals are likely to experience unique circumstances that the civilian population wont. These experiences account for the increased prevalence of PTSD in veterans. Things like deployments, combat, military sexual trauma, and the increased stress and pressure of certain specialties within each branch all combine to increase the chances of developing PTSD symptoms.
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Ptsd In Vietnam Veterans
In 1983, a mandate set forth by Congress required the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study to better understand the psychological effects of being in combat in the Vietnam War. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study found that approximately 15% of the 2.7 million Americans who served in the Vietnam war had PTSD.
The incidence over a lifetime following involvement in the Vietnam war, however, is much greater. Approximately 30% of men and 27% of women developed some form of partial PTSD at some point in their life following Vietnam.
Today, some 40 years later, new findings reported by the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study indicate that approximately 271,000 Vietnam veterans still suffer from PTSD and other major depressive disorders, indicating an ongoing need for mental health services for veterans after returning home from combat. Another congressional mandate, the NVVLS surveyed many of the Vietnam veterans who were previously assessed by the NVVRS, since a significant number of those participants had since passed away.
Ptsd Risk Factors For Veterans
Which factors increase a veterans risk of developing PTSD? Despite the significant advances in modern psychiatry, research into this question is ongoing. Much remains to be discovered about the biological and psychological determinants of PTSD in active-duty and former military personnel. Additionally, little is known about relative risks for various branches of the military, such as the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corp.
However, a comprehensive meta analysis published in 2015 suggests that certain variables may influence a veterans likelihood of developing PTSD. These include the following:
- Degree of exposure to combat
- Discharging a weapon during combat
- Witnessing life-threatening injuries or death while deployed
- Levels of social support following traumatic exposure .
Importantly, factors contributing to the onset of PTSD are highly ambiguous and individualized. There is no single definite way to determine the causes of this disorder in each case.
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New Technology For Diagnosis And Treatment
Virtual reality, exposure therapy, and biometric sensors can all work together to diagnose and treat PTSD. Several companies and universities have developed tech to improve the effectiveness of treatment.
One example comes from clinical psychologist Skip Rizzo. His VR system allows the patient to talk about their experience as they walk through the trauma, but it also has customization options. These options allow therapists to add secondary elements like clouds, missiles, small-arms fire and helicopters.
Another example is Ellie, a virtual PTSD screening tool launched by USCs Institute for Creative Technologies. Ellie provides patients with an unrecorded, anonymous interview session, which encourages vets to be more open and talk freely a tactic that helps to build rapport. Future developments may enable Ellie to report the veterans susceptibility to PTSD.
A third example of this technology comes from a process called Neuroflow, which monitors PTSD symptoms, such as heart rate-levels and brain-based neurological movements in real time. As the patient talks, the therapist monitors the readings of stress, engagement levels and relaxation to help identify triggers.
Who Has The Highest Rate Of Ptsd
The risks of one developing post-traumatic stress disorder depend on how traumatic the event is.
Of the different traumatic events, rape has the highest PTSD prevalence at 49%, compared to natural disasters at 3.8% .
PTSD after rape statistics also show that:
- 94% of women who were raped develop PTSD symptoms during the first two weeks after the traumatic event .
- 30% of them still experience PTSD symptoms nine months after the incident .
- 75% of sexual assault survivors were diagnosed with PTSD a month after the incident. This drops to 54% after three months, and it further drops to 41% after a year .
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Avoidance Of Trauma Reminders
Another hallmark of PTSD are behaviors that were established in order to avoid any reminders of the trauma. This can include avoiding certain places, situations, activities, or even certain people. Avoidance can also take the form of pretending that the trauma never happened, or refusing to talk about it.
Ptsd And The Military
The National Institute of Mental Health explains that PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. In the case of military personnel specifically, these types of events typically occur during times of war when soldiers find themselves face-to-face with not only their own mortality, but that of their fellow comrades as well.
In fact, PTSD is more common for military personnel than for the general population. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 7 to 8 percent of the population will experience PTSD at some time in their lives. Yet, this rate is much higher for military veterans, and the exact amount depends largely on which conflict they endured.
For instance, those serving in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have somewhere between an 11 and 20 percent of developing PTSD. However, it is estimated that approximately 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans developed or will develop this particular mental health condition. So, what is it like for veterans who are living with PTSD?
Ptsd In First Responders
First respondersâ PTSD statistics show that itâs also very common among American first responders.
- 30% of first responders have mental health problems such as PTSD, compared with the 20% of the general population .
- More than 80% of first responders go through traumatic events while on the job .
- About 10% to 15% of them have a PTSD diagnosis.
- 400,000 of them have reported some symptoms.
PTSD is highest among emergency personnel at 15%, compared to 5% of police officers .
On seeking treatment :
- 57% admit they fear negative repercussions if they sought help.
- 40% say theyâre afraid of being demoted or fired if they sought help.
- 7 in 10 say theyâd seek treatment more willingly if their organization leader also speaks openly about their own traumatic experiences.
- 8 in 10 say theyâd be more encouraged to seek help for their PTSD if a close colleague spoke up.
What Percentage Of Veterans Have Ptsd
How many veterans suffer from PTSD? You may be shocked by the answer.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 11-20 out of every 100 veterans experience post-traumatic stress disordera number that is both overwhelming and, unfortunately, not always acknowledged to the degree that it should be.
PTSD is generally characterized by a few distinct categories of symptoms, which mental health professionals use to assess and treat the disorder. These categories, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , capture the kinds of mental health problems that veterans with PTSD experience to differing degrees.
To understand the daily struggles that PTSD can entail or to assess whether you or someone you love might be experiencing this condition, consider the following:
Intrusion of Thoughts, Memories, Flashbacks, and Dreams
This category describes any kind of repeated, unwanted recollections of the traumatic events. These intrusive forms of thinking include memories and dreams, which can be quite vivid. In some cases, individuals with a diagnosis of PTSD experience flashbacks in which they feel as if they are witnessing or reliving the traumatic event again. Similarly, disturbing recollections of injuries or fatalities might repeatedly or unpredictably intrude.
Avoidance of Reminders of Traumatic Events
This can also serve as a barrier to seeking treatment.
Alterations in Arousal and Reactivity
Non-Combat Causes of PTSD Among Veterans
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Facts About How Common Ptsd Is
The following statistics are based on the U.S. population:
- About 6 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
- About 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
- About 8 of every 100 women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men . Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.
The Fight To End Veteran Homelessness Ptsd
As you will see, we should not simply blame the problem in one way the problem is more complex than the one we are addressing . What is the reason for so many homeless veterans? Many veterans who were part of the United States Army in many conflicts suffer from PTSD and are unable to find employment. PTSD may be a big contributor to why many veterans are homeless. Its hard to hold down a job when you still hear bombs going off in your head and cant sleep at night.
In the near future, the role that substance abuse and alcohol contribute to this is more than many people think. Calculating the vets who live on the streets and in homeless shelters can be an arduous task, given that many move around so frequently. How many veterans are homeless and have PTSD is honestly probably higher than any national average statistic found on the internet. Either way, one is too many, and there are thousands and thousands of them.
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Ptsd Time Frame: How Symptoms Develop And Last
In the days immediately following a traumatic event, people often experience symptoms similar to those described above. However, PTSD involves the sustained presence of these mental health problems over a longer period.
In order to meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD, veterans symptoms must last for at least one month often, they persist for years. Additionally, symptoms do not necessarily begin immediately following the trauma. While most individuals with PTSD experience symptoms within three months of the traumatic events in question, symptoms can also appear post-deployment. For veterans with PTSD, symptoms may emerge weeks or months after a period of combat or active-duty service.
Rates Of Ptsd Among Veterans By War
Some research suggests that rates of PTSD differ among veterans who served in different military conflicts. Indeed, there is compelling statistical evidence that military personnel who served in certain wars were somewhat more likely to develop PTSD symptoms.
- Vietnam War Veterans: The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, conducted from 1986 to 1988, found that 15.2% of men and 8.1% of women who served in Vietnam met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Additionally, the estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 30.9% among men who served in Vietnam and 26.9% among women. In a more recent study, researchers also found that PTSD was more prevalent among Vietnam veterans who had served in the theater of combat.
- Gulf War Veterans: In a study of over 11,000 Gulf War veterans conducted from 1995 to 1997, researcher Han K. Kang and his colleagues found that 12.1% had PTSD at the time they were surveyed.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans: In a 2008 study, researchers at the RAND Corporation analyzed the psychological health of 1,938 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom . OEF commenced in Afghanistan in 2001, whereas OIF launched in 2003. Among these veterans, 13.8% met criteria for PTSD at the time they were assessed.
War Veteran Ptsd Statistics
As of 2016, there were nearly 20.4 million US veterans, with 7.1 million of them having served in the Gulf War era from 1990 to the present .2
Up to 20% of veterans from the Gulf War develop PTSD in any given year.
In 2011, the US Government Accountability Office reported that around 2.6 million military service members had been deployed during the Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom , which began in 2001 and continues to present day.3
The number of service members who develop PTSD varies by era of service, but the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that 1120 out of every 100 veterans who served in a Gulf War develop PTSD in any given year.4
Another study showed that as of 2014, the percentage of veterans with PTSD averaged around 13.5% in a representative sample of OEF/OIF-era veterans.3
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Looking Toward A Brighter Future With Ptsd
People with PTSD should be aware that post-traumatic growth, the idea that people can not only recover from PTSD but also become stronger in spite of their diagnosis, is possible. You develop stronger relationships with people, you have a newfound sense of strength, maybe you develop a stronger spirituality or extensional connection, Moore says. You can actually become a better person for it and live a more rewarding, fulfilling life.
In 2013, briefly after joining the National Guard, Anderson was medically discharged as a result of his PTSD diagnosis. Although he had tried other types of treatments, he learned about accelerated resolution therapy , and after just one session, his intrusive memories disappeared. ART for me has been like brain fitness on steroids, he says.
According to a March 2017 study in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports, although early research suggests ART may be an effective therapy for PTSD, there has been only one randomized controlled trial to date, so more research is needed. It may very well be one of the top treatments in the next 10 years, but I think its too early to tell, Moore says.
Anderson, who opened a nonprofit to provide ART therapy for veterans, still struggles with memory, managing tasks, and being in public places with large crowds. Some days he can only write an email or make a phone call, but that isnt always the case. There are other days where you just cant stop me and I can do everything, he says.
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What Percent Of Iraq Veterans Have Ptsd
20 percentVeterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom display an 11 to 20 percent chance to develop PTSD in a given year. For context, that means that of the 1.9 million veterans who served in these operations, between 209,000 and 380,000 will develop PTSD.
When Does Ptsd Occur
PostTraumatic Stress Disorder can occur after exposure to a traumatic event. Traumatic events happen in the civilian world and in war zones, when an individual is exposed to actual or threatened death, injury, or sexual violence. Not everyone who witnesses or experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. For complete PTSD criteria see the National Center for PTSD website as noted.
What Is The Average Va Disability Rating
Currently, 18.6% or 883,629 of the 4,743,108 veterans receiving VA disability compensation benefits have a 10% combined VA rating.
This is insanely low, and according to our data, 8/10 of veterans deserve a higher VA disability rating by law.
The average combined VA disability rating for all veterans, across all demographics, is currently 10%, which equates to $140.05/month in 2019.