Study Looking For Specific PTSD Symptoms Connected to Suicides
January 7, 2011 – A researcher from Texas A&M University is taking a new approach to the study of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in hopes of isolating the specific PTSD symptoms serving to increase the number of suicides among combat veterans.
Common PTSD symptoms typically include:
- Hypervigilance; and
- Emotional numbness.
It is hoped if specific PTSD symptoms that increase risk of suicide can be isolated, more military and veteran suicides may be prevented. If that is possible, then education about those symptoms and early interventions may hold the key to reducing the alarming suicide rate among military personnel and veterans.
Despite headlines focusing on the amount of suicides among active duty soldiers, veterans commit more suicides than active duty soldiers. On average, 18 veterans a day take their own lives, which is almost 20% of the entire amount of suicides across the nation every year.
Many of the effects of PTSD do not surface for years after soldiers are discharged from the military. Many veterans may see a slow decline over a period of years, and don’t associate PTSD with their own situation. Other times the stigma surrounding PTSD prevents the veterans from seeking mental health help.
It is estimated that 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from such conditions as PTSD, depression, and substance abuse, which all increase the chances of a veteran becoming suicidal. The sheer volume of soldiers needing help demands as much research as possible.