Service members, military families and veterans are twice as likely than other Americans to buy into myths that those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are violent or dangerous, Military.com reported. About a third of military-connected respondents to a recent survey believe PTSD is untreatable.
“I was shocked at these percentages, and then my mood went to disappointment,” said Anthany Hassan, president of the nonprofit Cohen Veterans Network. “I don’t know how [service members] get stuck on it, how they seem to relate PTSD with violence and reckless behavior, and how they make this assumption that treatment doesn’t work when they’re told in the military all the time that these aren’t true.”
Among the findings of the 2,000-person survey by The Harris Poll:
- 67% of Americans believe that most veterans have PTSD.
- Almost 75% think most combat veterans have PTSD. (Studies show that fewer than 20% of post-9/11 veterans meet PTSD diagnosis criteria, along with 12% of Gulf War veterans and 15% of Vietnam veterans, the article notes.)
- About 25% of Americans believe patients with PTSD are violent or dangerous. (The Department of Veterans Affairs says the PTSD-violence link is very low.)
“PTSD’s impact on mental health still hasn’t hit mainstream understanding,” Teralyn Sell, a Wisconsin-based psychotherapist told Military.com. “There are evidence-based trauma treatments that are available.”
June is National PTSD Awareness Month.
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anna Arndt