Post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety condition afflicting more than 7 million people in the United States. It was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980 after a large number of Vietnam War veterans returned to the United States with debilitating symptoms of this severe and often untreatable condition. While war veterans are likely candidates to develop PTSD, any person who experiences a highly stressful, traumatic, life-threatening or otherwise catastrophic event may develop this psychologically crippling condition. Up to 20 percent of military men and women returning from combat in Iraq or Afghanistan are estimated to be suffering from PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD are characterized in three classes: re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyper arousal (also described as flashbacks, social isolation, and insomnia). Another incredibly tragic trait often associated with PTSD sufferers is suicidal thoughts. Sadly, a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2014 stated that an average of 22 American veterans are taking their own lives every day after returning home from service. The report states that nearly all of these veterans suffer from PTSD or have traumatic brain injuries.