PTSD Prevention

It may not be possible to prevent the traumatic events that leave individuals vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder, but there may be ways to prevent PTSD from developing. Large-scale disasters have given experts great insight into how PTSD works and how trauma affects different individuals.

Recent catastrophes, such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean led to PTSD in many survivors and rescue workers, offering an educational opportunity in the face of tragedy. Today, relief workers from organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army provide counseling for PTSD.

PTSD History and Development

PTSD Prevention

PTSD, an unnamed condition at the time, was so prevalent among veterans of the Vietnam War that the term Post-Vietnam Syndrome was coined by the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War. T

he condition was then added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) and titled post-traumatic stress disorder. The problem continues to grow among current servicemen, servicewomen and veterans.

A 30 percent increase in PTSD claims in recent years led the US Department of Veterans Affairs to begin reviewing the provision of compensation to veterans in 2005, causing an outcry from veterans’ rights groups and veterans themselves who were afraid of losing their benefits.

While PTSD continues to gain attention and understanding, the disorder can be controversial, in part because it can be difficult to objectively diagnose PTSD and because not everyone exposed to trauma will develop PTSD. The incidence is further confused by the diagnosis’ association with incidences of compensation-seeking behavior.

Many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning home with physical, emotional and relational issues. The US Marine Corps has responded by instituting programs to assist them in re-adjusting to civilian life and in communicating their experiences to loved ones. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research developed a program they named “Battlemind” to assist service members in avoiding PTSD and related problems.