PTSD Is Treatable But Recovery Depends on Environment

We all know that PTSD is a rising health concern among our veterans, service members, and military leaders.

According to the VA, studies estimate that about 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, and up to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have or will have PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) —and that’s just the diagnosed cases.

But there’s good news.

Many of these veterans, as well as other trauma victims — even survivors of combat, torture or concentration camps — can rebound from PTSD to live full and normal lives, according to a recent New York Times article.


A big part of the recovery has to do with the environment (people and places) to which PTSD victims return to.

Too often, the environment just after a stressful event has as much impact or perhaps even more impact on how a person deals with trauma than the event itself. This is why it’s so important that we are there for our veterans and service members in every way possible.

In the life of a solider, trauma is often inevitable. But many believe that it is “less a poison than an infectious agent.” PTSD is treatable, but it is not something our veterans can overcome alone. In addition to counseling, they need support, love and encouragement from friends and family. Studies of soldiers returning home have found that PTSD runs higher among veterans who cannot reconnect with supportive people and new opportunities.

At Veterans Support Organization, we create a supportive environment for our veterans returning to the civilian world. We offer a work program and housing program for unemployed and homeless or near-homeless veterans, many of whom have struggled with PTSD and other mental health problems for many years.  Just by caring and being compassionate, our staff is helping these veterans rebuild their lives.

If you know a veteran suffering from PTSD, encourage him or her to get help right away -- and let that person know that he or she is not alone.

Richard VanHouten is the founder and CEO of Veterans Support Organization.