Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: an anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress.

This disorder is not just a disorder of combat veterans. In fact, there have been over fourteen different names for PTSD such as ‘shell-shock’ and ‘soldier’s heart’, and advocates of a different name for the disorder when it is seen in combat veterans. It may be helpful to differentiate the types of PTSD based on the cause of the symptoms, but the brain does put a person in a state of fear of any number of things, and the body reacts accordingly in what we call PTSD, regardless of the cause.


There may be some differences that can be noted, obviously the causes being just one difference, and a different name for combat PTSD may be a very helpful thing. There are different types of trauma outlined in the DSM, namely, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This type of trauma occurs when an individual experiences a prolonged period (months to years) of chronic victimization and total control by another, especially in developmentally vulnerable times in their lives by caregivers.

PTSD is seen more in women than in men. It can be caused by severe traumas such as sexual or physical abuse. According to The Harvard Guide to Women’s Health, it also can result from sexual harassment. Many people do not think of this, but when a woman is sexually harassed she may lose her job, shelter, food, ability to provide for herself, and may then be dependent upon others she does not know or trust. Her boundaries may have been violated and she may be emotionally abused and told she is not able or competent to do her job. Though the sexual harassment is often traumatizing, the retaliation and job loss is often just as traumatic. On the other hand, discrimination or slander and job loss may also be the cause of PTSD.

There are millions of different situations that can lead to reactions which result in PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are many things that can help a person to heal from PTSD. Some of these include therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Canine Assisted therapy, Art therapy, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and other psychodynamic therapies.  Other things that help include exercise, yoga, music, fishing, sports, art, walking, proper diet, drinking water, prayer, and spending time with family and loved ones.

Carlson, MD, Karen J., Eisenstat, MD, Stephanie A., Ziporyn, Ph.D. Terra The Harvard Guide to Women’s Health.





National Council for Behavioral Health report on Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom