What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. For service members, these events can include:
- Combat exposure
- Being physically injured
- Seeing others killed or wounded
- Terrorist attacks
- Serious accidents
- Sexual or physical assault
After the event, it’s natural to feel scared, confused or angry. However, if these feelings don't go away with time, or they get worse, you may have PTSD.
How does PTSD develop?
PTSD can develop when someone lives through a traumatic event where they have witnessed horrifying events, which have left them feeling helpless and fearful for their lives. How likely you are to get PTSD depends on several things:
- How intense the trauma was or how long it lasted
- If you lost someone you were close to or were hurt
- How strong your reaction was
- How much you felt in control of events
- How much help and support you got after the event
Many people who develop PTSD get better over time. But about one out of three people may need help or treatment for PTSD. Help is available through the IWAP program M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. Call 866-554-IWAP (4927).
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Do you have trouble sleeping?
Having difficulty remembering?
Are you angry, irritable or anxious much of the time?
Do you have frightening thoughts or nightmares?
Are you jumpy or easily startled?
Are you emotionally numb or do you feel detached from other people and relationships?
These are not signs of weakness. These are common signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s important to get help now. Left untreated, PTSD often leads to other devastating problems such as:
- Alcohol abuse or drug problems
- Feelings of hopelessness, shame or 'survivor’s guilt'
- Employment problems
- Relationships problems including divorce and violence
What treatments are available?
Fortunately, there are many excellent treatments for PTSD available, including talk therapy, group therapy and medications. The first step is getting screened for PTSD. Call the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program at 866-554-IWAP (4927) and ask to be screened for PTSD.
IWAP is a free and confidential resource provided by the State of Illinois. It is not connected to the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
IWAP services are provided by Magellan Health Services, a nationally recognized leader in mental health and wellness.
Confidential help is available
You're not alone. We're here to help. The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program is a free program for returning Veterans. Confidential assistance is available M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT. You can also ask a specialist. Call now – 866-554-IWAP (4927). If this is after hours and you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, or are functionally impaired, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.
Created by Magellan Health Services staff; reviewed by Magellan clinical staff