War On Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder, (PSTD), affects millions of Americans.  The roots of this disease stem from traumatic experiences.   After being involved in a life threatening experience, some people develop systems of PTSD a month or so following the incident.  I have a neighbor who suffers horribly from this disease and understand the implications of not receiving the proper intervention for it.  More social psychology intervention needs to be brought into this field to assess and help the patient.


My neighbor is a 60-year old Vietnam War veteran, and it behooves me to see how he still suffers from PTSD to this day.  His past veteran history has been compounded with a recent divorce that has become devastating and overwhelming.  He frequents the veteran’s psychiatric unit where he was clinically evaluated and prescribed medications.  He has sessions with a psychiatrist and social worker more than two times a week.  From my observations, these evaluations that have been ongoing for years are mere trial and error sessions.  His medications include antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs in an effort to keep him sedated and calm.  Suicide has been attempted multiple times, and he always fear that his neighbors are plotting to kill him.


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has done research on PTSD and related studies on fear and anxiety to aid people in coping with trauma.   Studies have been conducted on the brain, its functions, and chemicals released as a result of fear and trauma.  Early intervention focusing on disturbances in the memory, such as, bias, memory formation, and saliency can help in slowing down the development and maintenance of PTSD.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been used to help individuals think and reach to frightening experiences that can trigger PTSD  and help them cope.  Also, by using these measures of therapy, the NIMH researchers have been able to study the brain response to certain medications while responding to CBT.  Sometimes an individual’s core cognitive schema is inconsistent with the patient’s traumatic event.  He has difficulty integrating his past experiences into his existing schema.  This disintegration eventually manifests and can lead to behaviors and symptoms of PTSD.  There are structured forms of psychotherapy including, exposure therapy, cognitive restructuring, and stress inoculation training.   Some forms of research attempt to enhance personality, cognitive and social protective factors and minimize risk factors in an effort to prevent full-blown PTSD after trauma.  The identification of certain factors and their response to an individual regarding PTSD is still being researched (Brewin, 2005).


Another form of clinical research by the NIMH is to create approaches via the Internet and telephone to promote self-help therapy and telephone-assisted therapy.  There are also research programs where a person with PTSD can meet their therapist face to face on websites.  A therapy session can be conducted this way.  This can help lower the stress and aid the patient in dealing with his fears and problems.  Intervention programs are being studied in order to respond to risk factors of PTSD before they become full-blown.  The aim is to develop more effective and personalized treatments for the patient.  Other psychological interventions that have been studied and utilized include coping skills therapy, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing, and debriefing interventions.  These interventions have not been fully successful and effective.  Interventions need to be expanded and more programs involving exposure and interactions should be promoted.


Anyone can develop PTSD. It is not exclusively a disease for war veterans.   It can be brought on by an unexpected death, a traumatic loss or even extreme fear.  Most children and teens suffer from this disease if something traumatic has occurred in their lives. Children who are exposed to domestic violence can also suffer.  Clinical studies for this type of treatment presently involve trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) as opposed to child-centered therapy (CCT).


My focus regarding PTSD is mainly geared toward the veterans of war.  I feel that their disease is not as controlled as it should be.  We as a society should not let our thinking fall into a group bias situation, but instead attempt to recognize these individuals and help to promote the funding and therapy that they are deserving of.  A recent occurrence can prove my point.   Omar Gonzalez, a war veteran, broke security and attempted to enter the White House.  Authorities later found 800 rounds of ammunition, hatchets, and machetes in his car.  It was determined that he too suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and his family has stated that Gonzalez not only has lost his home and material belongings in his life, but has lost his mind due to serving his country (Fernandez, et al. 2014).


I feel that with all the monies that are spent by our country for research in the medical field, this disease should be given more priority for prevention and keeping it controlled.  The clinical studies and health issues that are involved in PTSD are vast and still in progress.  Research is constantly being improved to help these victims and survivors, but not enough.  I feel that this disease should be intercepted before it reaches its full impact on an individual.  Hopefully, the proper interventions and research will cure this problem and assist the sufferers of these dreaded disease.  An attack on the roots of the disease for each individual should be assessed and conquered so that our veterans can live their daily lives to the fullest.




Brewin, CR. (2005). Risk factor effect sizes in PTSD: what this means for intervention. J. Trauma dissociation. 6,123-130.

Montgomery, D., Fernandez, M., (2014). Omar J. Gonzalez, Accused of White House Intrusion, Is Recalled as Good but Troubled Neighbor. The New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/us/omar-gonzalez-veteran-white-house-fence.html.

1 comment

  1. PTSD is like you said a problem that affects a wide variety of people. War veteran’s are normally those who are thought of when PTSD is mentioned but certain events such as domestic violence can make a person have PTSD. These events that cause PTSD all cause trauma to a person in some for and what stems from the trauma is the effects of PTSD. Sadly there are more people with PTSD than people think.
    TF-CBT and medications are often the treatment for PTSD. These treatments seem to be used in a majority of cases of PTSD. Psychotherapy is used to help these patients with PTSD and can help the patients learn how to react when they are at the state of mind that PTSD causes them to be in certain situations. Rather than having behavior problems and mental problems occur at this state of mind the patients need to be able to take themselves out of that state of mind. When it comes to the computer and telephone therapy’s that you mention I am split on how it would work. I see the positives because if the therapists are able to be reached at all times then they could help talk someone to a correct state of mind when they are having a “PTSD reaction” from a situation. I however do not think that would work as a normal therapy treatment because people are more connected in person rather than over the phone or internet so without the face to face interaction I do not believe either parties would fully understand each other.
    Another thing that gets me as does you is that there is not enough research and interventions for PTSD. This is a problem that should have infinite amount of research on because of how common it is. I feel that the best solution for this would be to start treating the problem at first occurrence rather than waiting till something tragic happens. Especially for war veteran’s, these individuals should be going through therapy the moment they get home from war whether they want to or not. They might not feel they are going to have PTSD but they could be wrong. Why wait to find out? Same goes for people such as you mentioned that are domestic violence victims. Rather than waiting to see if these instances caused PTSD we should be treating them to help prevent it from happening or from being full blown as you say. Why should it have to take a veteran trying to break into the white house for people to realize how severe his PTSD really is? Wouldn’t it be easier to find out from the beginning that he has it and work with him on different treatments so that there would not be a big eruption from it?
    This subject is also personal to me because my brother has PTSD from war. Not only is he going to therapy multiple times a week but he is also on medications. Certain situations put him in a mind set that is honestly scary and upsetting for people watching. For instance, if he hears fireworks he falls on the ground and “takes cover” because he automatically thinks he is under attack. While this may be funny at the time it is rather upsetting to know that someone that was fighting for our country returns to our country with all these problems caused from PTSD. I do not personally know if the treatments they use for PTSD are the correct ones but I do believe that PTSD needs to be studied more extensively and more solutions need to be brought to the field for treatment.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar