Home / Identifying PTSD

Identifying PTSD

Since 2002, over 100,000 military service members have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is involved or witness to a life-threatening or terrifying event.  This can be anything from combat to rape to an automobile accident.  Most people who have gone through a traumatic event will have stress-related reactions afterward.  This is common and to be expected.  However, not everyone who endures a traumatic event has or develops PTSD.  Roughly 30% of Vietnam veterans, 10% of Gulf War veterans, 20% of Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, and 11% of veterans from the war in Afghanistan have developed PTSD.  The biggest percentage of our service members and veterans do not suffer from PTSD.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

The process of identifying and diagnosing PTSD can vary from person to person.  There are several common symptoms that typically arise in those facing this issue. Even if you or your loved one has been screened for PTSD in the past, it may be valuable to reassess the situation since symptoms of PTSD often develop or worsen over time.

Symptoms may include but are not limited to:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Emotional numbing
  • Avoiding activities once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about future
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Avoiding thoughts and discussions about traumatic events
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Irritability and/or anger
  • Guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Hyper-vigilance and/or easily startled
  • Hearing or seeing things that are not there
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heightened stress levels
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Unexplained pain
  • Unprovoked fear or distress
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

Why can’t I just ‘get over it’?

If a person suffering from PTSD could simply “get over it”, they would.  PTSD is not just remembering the trauma over and over.  It is a painful and disruptive issue that plagues not only service members and veterans, but civilians as well.  It causes physical changes in the brain and body that bring a wide range of symptoms.

What do I do now that I think I may have PTSD?

Once you or your loved one recognizes the signs and symptoms of PTSD, the next step is choosing to seek care. This is often a difficult decision for a number of reasons. Many people resist seeking help out of fear of being thought of as weak or that others may lose confidence in them. A person dealing with PTSD may also convince themselves that treatments will be ineffective or will cause side effects. Despite these reservations, it is important for someone suffering from PTSD to get help. Without treatment, PTSD does not get better and in some cases, it can worsen. Treatment is important at any stage regardless of whether you or your loved one has been suffering for months or years. It’s never too late to reach out for help.

Can Centerstone Military Services help me or my loved one?

Yes, we can. Centerstone Military Services serves everyone whose lives are impacted by military service including Veterans from all Active Duty and Reserve components (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines) – regardless of discharge status. We also offer programs and services for immediate and extended family members, loved ones, friends and colleagues of those who have served. You do not have to be in a current crisis to call or email us for help. Simply call 866.781.8010, available 24/7, or email our counseling line at MilitaryService@centerstone.org to get the process started.

We know that there isn’t one solution that works for everyone, so our treatment options include you in the decision-making process.

If you are in crisis, please call our crisis lines, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.


Further Reading – because understanding is half the battle.

What is PTSD
Partners of veterans with PTSD
PTSD – The Mayo Clinic
PTSD Symptoms: How Trauma Affects the Brain

Related Posts

Cohen Military Family Clinic

1st Annual Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone Community Art Show

The clinic was transformed into an art gallery on August 10th in honor of our one-year anniversary. Thirty Veteran and Family member artists came together to share their talents with the community. The celebration featured pieces created in numerous different mediums from a variety of artistic expressions. Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts, who advocates ...


Sun Tan City Supports Centerstone’s Military Services

Sun Tan City is partnering with Centerstone for a week of giving in support of Centerstone’s Military Services. All Sun Tan City locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee will be offering Spray Tan or Sunbed sessions for $5 from June 24-30, 2019. Centerstone’s Military Services will receive $1 from each visit. Everyone is invited to ...

Family Matters

A Salute to Military Children

Military children deserve our gratitude Gratitude for our nation’s veterans and active military members are rightfully common across our country. We hold in our hearts the exceptional nature of their bravery and service. Their sense of duty, honor and commitment is crucial to the freedom and security we enjoy as a nation. Less noticed, however, ...

Military Services

Centerstone’s Jodie Robison Joins American Counseling Association’s 2019-2020 Research and Knowledge Committee

Dr. Jodie Robison, Executive Director of Centerstone’s Military Services, has been selected to the 2019-2020 Research and Knowledge Committee of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Robison first joined Centerstone in 2007 as a behavioral health worker in Pediatric Integrated Care before establishing her own private behavioral health practice in 2012. Before she became executive director ...


More Than a Three-Day Weekend

For some people, Memorial Day is just another three-day weekend, the beginning of grilling season, the opening of community pools. It has become a day of great joy for many people. Most realize the day has something to do with honoring military, so veterans are often thanked for their service or even told “Happy Memorial ...