For over fifty years, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been a major problem for Vietnam veterans. It’s one of the main conditions treated by the VA. It’s said to be one of the major causes of divorce for Vietnam veterans. And, if some of the suicide statistics are true (and there’s room for argument on both sides), PTSD is a major cause of suicide among Vietnam veterans.
Every Vietnam veteran (and everyone else, too) has a different view of PTSD. There are lots of stories, from various points of view, so scroll through the page and take a look:
Vietnam? I was there last night
How would you ever stop thinking about Vietnam?
PTSD: The reactivity switch – what it is and how it affects you.
Does the sound of a helicopter set you off? How about the smell of diesel exhaust? Could be the effects of the “reactivity switch” in your brain.
What does PTSD do to different people?
Everything about PTSD is confusing, and in every case, the effects are different.
PTSD: Vietnam reprogrammed your brain
When you were in Vietnam, your brain reprogrammed itself. If you have PTSD, it’s because that program is still running.
What you probably have is probably worse than PTSD
Post Traumatic Shame Disorder: A manual for undoing the torment of ‘Amerika’s’ Vietnam veterans.
Agent Orange: A slow and certain death
After his return from Vietnam, an American soldier suffered for years from problems related to his service in Vietnam. PTSD came first, followed by an early death caused by Agent Orange.
Hemingway, embellished stories, and Agent Orange
Why it’s so important that Vietnam veterans tell their stories.
PTSD: The hidden heart of the warrior
People often think that veterans have little emotion or feelings.
PTSD vs. Maui Rules
A new way of looking at life might help.
Three questions for the young soldier within you
Asking these three questions to Vietnam veterans would get very different answers depending on when the questions were asked.
I don’t have PTSD. (Or do I?)
As Vietnam veterans are growing older, some are beginning to realize that the things that are bothering them might actually be PTSD.
Vietnam: My life after
Effects of Vietnam haven’t totally gone away.
Been waiting too long for your VA appointment?
Time to check into the Veterans Choice program.
PTSD: A marriage odyssey
PTSD can take a toll on a marriage, but this story proves that the situation isn’t hopeless.
PTSD: Retirement, Rest, and Renewal
As retirement becomes a reality for many Vietnam veterans it’s time to reflect and make good changes.
Walking on eggshells
Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – (Not a defined mental disorder within the DSM-IV) occurs when a person has an indirect exposure to risk or trauma, resulting in many of the same symptoms as a full-blown diagnosis of PTSD.
Four-legged therapy for PTSD
A veteran finds that canine companions help him get through some bad times.
PTSD linked to dementia in later life
A new study found that veterans diagnosed with PTSD were nearly twice as likely as other veterans to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia as they age.
Writing: A pathway for healing trauma
Words can help heal. If you’re suffering from PTSD, why not give “expressive writing” a try?
Are you sure it’s PTSD?
While someone’s problem may be caused by PTSD, there’s also the possibility that they are afflicted with a more insidious ailment.
Those who have married Vietnam veterans, or veterans of other wars, may find that their relationships change over the years. And not always for the better. Our PTSD expert, Mary Tendall, provides some insights.
Will I go to heaven?
It’s a question many have asked when they’ve looked back on their lives, and thought about things they’ve done. But for those who have participated in a war, the question takes on a special significance.
Putting them to rest
Therapeutic tools can bring resolution to bad memories of combat, but there’s also a lot a veteran can do for himself.
PTSD: Realizing the slow death
In one quick moment, after a visit to a Vietnam exhibit at an art museum, the years and the generational divide evaporated.
It never goes away does it?
In August of 1966, 108 soldiers from Australia and New Zealand fought for their lives against 2,500 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers at a place called the Long Tan rubber plantation. Forty-one years on, an Australian veteran watches a YouTube video, and finds that even though he was not part of the battle, his PTSD-related feelings can return without warning.
PTSD: Guilt and shame
Combat experiences create many unresolved memories that can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.
The effects of war
Forty years after his Vietnam experience, the wife and children of a PTSD victim still suffer.
Power outages, blaming, and power struggles
Cabin fever or not, disagreements can pop up at any time. Here’s how to cope.
Surrender: A new perspective for war veterans
As veterans age, surrender isn’t always a bad idea.
PTSD and your VA claim
A former VA Rating Specialist provides some clues. Check it out.
Alternative PTSD treatment update
Integrative medicine techniques might help.
John and Jake: A love story
There are many reasons why they say a dog is man’s best friend. Here’s one of them.
Who am I now?
There is a very high incidence of suicide in Vietnam veterans. Suicidal thinking is increasing.
Getting through the rough times
There are ways to help the PTSD sufferer through the physical and emotional pain, but you also have to take care of yourself during the process.
Is it really too late for you?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. It’s not too late. Help is available. And it really works.
When TV is not enough
It’s not unusual for veterans with PTSD to spend a lot of time watching television. But there are lots of better ways to spend your time.
The hidden heart of the warrior
A letter written on behalf of Vietnam veterans still suffering from PTSD.
Letters of thanks for Jan and Mary
Just a few of the letters written by grateful veterans and their family members.
It’s never too late
There’s still time to get your PTSD under control. It’s not too late. Believe it.
PTSD: Is it treatable?
For years there’s been a question whether or not treatment helps. Now, with new treatment techniques, the answer is becoming a definite “yes.”
Bringing closure to loss
When the end is missing, sometimes a self-made memorial can stop the Groundhog Day Effect.
Making the darkness conscious
The Vietnam experience becomes a part of a psychologist’s life.
PTSD flashbacks can hit at any time.
Angels in repose
A review of an unpublished book.
Making sense of PTSD
Post Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) has done more damage than most people (even veterans) realize. Thousands of Vietnam veterans have suffered for 30 years and more, without much help. Fighting PTSD in constructive ways isn’t easy, but it can be done.
What about me?
Mary Tendall and Jan Fishler look at what a husband’s PTSD can do to a family – and what we can do about it.
Understanding reactivity and anger
Looking at why so many combat veterans react to everyday situations with such anger.
Coping with the holidays
Why the so-called “happiest time of the year” often is not – and what you can do to make it better.
It’s 2013: Did you think you would make it?
One of our favorite writers, a licensed psychotherapist specializing in PTSD, returns to remind us of how far we’ve come, and to encourage us to keep it going.
Reclaiming joy and pleasure
Too often the suffering of veterans is increased by their avoidance of pleasure. Here are some ideas on how to get some of those good (and important) feelings back into your life.
Why now, after all these years?
After years of having things sort of “under control” many veterans are seeing their PTSD symptoms show up worse than ever.
Note: It’s important to remember that, even though the VietNow National Magazine regularly publishes articles about veterans who suffer from PTSD, articles about how to get help for PTSD, and articles about other service-connected problems faced by veterans, VietNow believes that most veterans are living successful lives with no serious problems related to their military service. But our mission of “Veterans Helping Veterans” means we care about veterans who are having problems, thus the emphasis on articles we think are helpful to those veterans (and their families) who need and deserve some extra help.
Photo Caption: Men of Troop B, 1st Battalion, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, and their M-48 Patton tank move through the jungle in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, June 1969. Source: Vietnam Photos Miscellaneous Collection.