Diagnosing PTSD

Diagnosing PTSD

It is a lengthy process diagnosing service men and women with PTSD. It is difficult to diagnose a Veteran with PTSD. However, the Department of Veterans (VA) has made great attempts to screen Veterans suffering with symptoms experienced by other Veterans. “Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms.”[1] There is reluctance from Veterans suffering with posttraumatic stress and or depression with others around them. This cautiousness is not self-imposed, but rather a mechanism acquired from the battlefield. “…individuals with more-lengthy deployments (i.e., 12 to 15 months) and more extensive exposure to combat trauma are at greater risk of suffering from current PTSD and major depression.”[2] PTSD has become known as the most common injury associated with today’s wars. It is a debilitating injury of the brain that has gone undetected until symptoms occur.

The difficulty with the wars fought during the last decade has been their locations, number of wars simultaneously and length of deployments. “The United States military is fighting two wars halfway across the world. Many service members are serving multiple tours of duty with little time at home in between. Physical war wounds are obviously identifiable, but mental wounds are difficult to spot and need special attention.”[3] The “mental wounds” may go undetected for some time. The Veteran must learn to live with the scares from battle: both external and internal.

[1] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

[2] Tanielian, Invisible Wounds of War 13.

[3] McGrane, Madeline. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Military: The Need for Legislative Improvement of Mental Health Care for Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.” Journal of Law & Health 24, no. 1 (2011): 185.


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