According to a story released by CNN on December 13, there are more cases of women diagnosed with and suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than at any other time of our nation’s military history.
The reason for this sharp increase is simple: there are more women in combat today than ever before.
According to the United States Census, in 2010, there are nearly 1.8 million female veterans, and according to CNN, the number of women serving has “doubled in the last 30 years.” Further, more women are serving in combat positions than in any other prior conflict.
So, with the combined, sharp increase of both women serving in the military and women serving in combat positions, there isn’t any surprise that there is a rise in reported PTSD cases among women.
Nearly 20% of military women, including veterans and active duty, have been diagnosed with PTSD in recent years. Unfortunately, these numbers correspond to the number of military men diagnosed during the same time period.
Though, there has been an incredible amount of copy, news stories and reports about the dangers of PTSD, especially among veterans and active duty service members, what the real concern is that the number of reported PTSD diagnoses are, in fact, low.
For many veterans and those still serving, there is an unnecessary stigma attached to a PTSD diagnosis, and because of that, they are less likely to seek proper medical treatment.
Even more, the symptoms and signs of PTSD are often mistaken for normal, general anxiety and issues that result from transitioning back into civilian life.
Further, PTSD isn’t a physical injury, which makes it all the more difficult for veterans and active duty service members to acknowledge that there is something else going on.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), PTSD may occur in individuals that have experienced a traumatic event, including combat. Symptoms and signs may not even occur until weeks or months after the event.
It is important for all of us to keep talking about PTSD and other psychological injuries our brave men and women receive while they serve our country. And, that’s what this new article from CNN does: it keeps us talking.