Even though they are soldiers, they are still human. Military personnel who go on deployments overseas to places like Iraq and Afghanistan are at a higher risk for experiencing a traumatic event and also for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, about eight percent of people will have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at some point and about twenty percent of veterans back from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with PTSD (http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/index.php/blog/ptsd-and-returning-veterans). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop after the experience of a traumatic event. Traumatic events manifest when a person is confronted with threatened death, actual death or serious injury. It can also occur just by a person being a witness of a traumatic event. For example, a soldier overseas may see their friends get shot, or they may be the one having to shot to protect themselves. The individual, whether they are a victim or a witness, experience feelings of helplessness, intense horror or fear during the event. The most common example of a traumatic event that is encountered by an individual that is living or having to be in a combat zone. A person traumatized by such an event develops characteristic symptoms. These symptoms include the constant recollection of the event, numbing of general responsiveness, an increase in physiological arousal and avoidance of the situation. These symptoms are grouped into three clusters: intrusive symptoms, avoidance symptoms and arousal symptoms (www.ptsdalliance.org/about_symp.html).
The first cluster of symptoms are intrusive symptoms. These include the frequent or constant recollection of the traumatic event through vivid frightening nightmares, thoughts, images and day-dreams. The individual may feel and act like they are re-experiencing or reliving the traumatic events and will sometimes have an overwhelming sense of distress in situations that may remind the individual of the events (The American Psychiatric Association, 1994).