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It’s a struggle of mind and body: with thoughts betraying every second and skin forever failing. You watch, helpless, as your friend shatters in front of you — a solider no longer able to care for himself, lacking even the desire to. He doesn’t sleep; he doesn’t smile. Instead he devotes himself to chasing shadows, certain that monsters lurk inside.
And that certainty doesn’t fade, even as the days pass. Instead it strengthens itself, sustaining every paranoid word he flings toward you. Your friend is no longer as he was and you fear he’ll never be that way again.
That fear is not unfounded — if only because the disease that’s claimed a solider is too often denied and the result is a lifetime of pain.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a cluster symptoms that affects millions of men and women each year — especially within the military. 19 percent of all soldiers are estimated to suffer from this disease. Of those individuals 30 percent will have it throughout their entire lives.
The reason for this is not the anxiety itself. Instead it’s the dismissal of it: with military members and their families too often unaware of how deep the symptoms go, unwilling to pursue the necessary help. Professional counseling is ignored; medication is refused; and the result is failure. PTSD is allowed to exist when it should instead be treated.
It’s necessary to regard all symptoms as serious. Otherwise PTSD will remain for years — and that’s a tragedy that should never occur.