Posted by Dr. James Bender, Deployment Health Clinical Center clinical psychologist on December 23, 2013
Soldiers often have delayed reactions to traumatic events that may take years to manifest. Pictured here are soldiers on an operation in Dora, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Elisha Dawkins)
Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. In his current position, Bender is a subject matter expert for the PTSD Clinical Pathways Program, which is developing a pathway to treat PTSD that will be implemented across the Defense Department.
It’s easy to confuse post-traumatic stress (PTS) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to sharing similar names, there’s considerable overlap in symptoms between the two conditions. Both PTS and PTSD are associated with feeling fearful and/or nervous, avoiding the activity or place associated with the traumatic event, and nightmares. However, there are significant differences in symptom intensity, duration and treatment.
PTS is a common, normal and often adaptive response to experiencing a traumatic or stressful event. Common occurrences, like car accidents, can trigger PTS, as well as more unusual events, like military combat or kidnapping.