Military service in a combat region such as Afghanistan will increase the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is a much higher incidence of PTSD among combat veterans than among the general public. Non-combat personnel in a war zone are also at greater risk of developing PTSD following their service, if they are exposed to traumatic events such as witnessing battlefield wounds. While many soldiers develop PTSD following their service, others do not. There are other risk factors involved that make some individuals more susceptible to developing PTSD.
Combat experience is a major risk factor for developing PTSD. Other risk factors that will increase the chance of a combat veteran developing PTSD include the following:
Receiving support from family and friends upon homecoming and while reintegrating into society helps reduce the chance of developing PTSD and assists in recovery if the disorder does develop. This helps explain why PTSD is so common among veterans of Vietnam War. Vietnam vets consistently report feeling unappreciated and even despised upon returning from the war. Vietnam vets also have a higher incidence of substance abuse, addiction, depression and suicide. Many combat veterans returning from Afghanistan feel that the public doesn’t know or care about what they went through. This feeling of isolation can greatly increase the risk of developing PTSD. You can help your soldier avoid PTSD after he or she returns from Afghanistan by doing the following:
If you have questions about PTSD, would like a PTSD assessment for yourself or a loved one or simply want to learn more about the disorder and your options for moving forward, call our toll-free helpline.