"June marks PTSD awareness month and new statistics show the alarming number of veterans in our country who are dealing with the mental disorder, triggered by experiencing or seeing a traumatic event.
In the past year alone, the number of diagnosed cases of PTSD in the military has jumped 50%, according to PTSD United. And that’s only diagnosed and reported cases. While diagnosis and treatment have progressed, there’s still a long way to go.
World War II veteran, Bob Reeners, says the mindset of what PTSD is has changed.
“You know, in WWI they called it shell shocked,” Reeners said, “in WWII they called it combat fatigue. In Iraq and Afghanistan they call it PTSD, talking about the same thing.”
Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Brian Cagle, sees a change as well.
“It’s also changed in the broadening out in that, it’s based more on the person’s perception, than, you have to meet these criteria,” said Cagle, “you have to have witnessed this, or you have to have witnessed that.”
Many veterans suffering form PTSD go to a Veterans Affairs Clinic for treatment, but the many patients Dr. Cagle sees are dealing with other issues.
“One person could see a car accident and not be affected by it,” said Cagle, “another person could see a car accident and be extremely affected by it. If the person was extremely affected by it, we still treat PTSD.”
He says it’s important for those who see someone suffering, to offer help.
“If I broke my foot, would you hesitate to tell me, hey, your foot looks broken, I think you need some help,” said Cagle, “I don’t think you’d hesitate.”
Dr. Cagle says people have made a correlation between mental illness and violent crimes and that connection is not true. He says when people believe that, it’s harder to approach someone who may be suffering, and harder for them to get help."