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Mental Health Center

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Military Concerns

If you were in the military, you may have seen combat. You may have been on missions that exposed you to horrible and life-threatening experiences. You may have been shot at, seen a buddy shot, or seen death. These are types of events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Other things about a combat situation can add more stress to an already stressful situation and may contribute to PTSD and other mental health problems.7 These things include what you do in the war, the politics around the war, where it's fought, and the type of enemy you face.

Another cause of PTSD in the military can be military sexual trauma (MST). This is any sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurs while you are in the military. MST can happen to men and women and can occur during peacetime, training, or war.

Getting treatment

Many veterans don't seek treatment for PTSD. You may feel that treatment won't help, or worry about what people will think. Your military background may add other pressures that keep you from seeking treatment. You may feel that it will hurt your career, or that those in your unit will lose faith in you. You may fear that your unit will see you as weak.

  • If you need help deciding to see your doctor, see some reasons why people don't get help and ways to overcome them.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has many programs for veterans and their families who are worried about PTSD or related problems. If you are a veteran, contact your local VA about these resources ( You can find help with treatment, jobs, housing, and sexual assault.


One Man's Story:

"Being in the Guard now is like a mandatory support group, because they've all been there too."-Tim

Read Tim's story.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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