The symptoms of PTSD can make it difficult for veterans to maintain their health, jobs, and relationships.


  • Veterans can develop a mental health condition called PTSD after stressful, violent, or dangerous experiences in the military.
  • PTSD symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, paranoia, and irritability, among other things.
  • Poor job performance, tension in relationships, and physical symptoms like headaches can all be consequences of PTSD in veterans.
  • The VA offers resources and disability benefits to veterans with service-connected PTSD.

Older male veteran with PTSD being comforted by his wife

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying or traumatizing event. PTSD can manifest in various symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. 

Understanding PTSD in veterans is crucial as they often face unique challenges reintegrating into civilian life after experiencing traumatic events during their military service. As veteran disability claims lawyers, we recognize the impact of PTSD, specifically on veterans, is often isolating. 

At Bartlett Legal Group, we approach VA PTSD disability claims with a focus on providing empathy, support, and specialized care to help veterans navigate and cope with the lasting effects of their service experiences. Give us a call at (850) 332-6434 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation with us.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. This condition is characterized by a range of symptoms that can have a significant impact on your daily life. 

PTSD often manifests in individuals who have been through events like combat, natural disasters, accidents, or assault, causing them to feel intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Common Causes of PTSD in Veterans

PTSD can stem from a variety of distressing events, including military combat, childhood trauma, sexual or physical assault, or serious accidents. 

Veterans commonly experience PTSD due to their exposure to combat situations, witnessing violence, Military Sexual Trauma, or losing comrades during service. The nature of the traumatic event and the individual’s response to it play a crucial role in the development of how PTSD affects veterans.

General Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD can manifest in various ways, including flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD may also exhibit avoidance behaviors, emotional numbness, hypervigilance, and difficulty concentrating. 

These symptoms can profoundly impact your relationships, work, and overall quality of life. This underscores the importance of early recognition and intervention for veterans with PTSD.

Veterans are particularly susceptible to PTSD due to the unique and often traumatic experiences they face during their military service. In fact, PTSD is the most common mental health condition the VA issues disability benefits for. Exposure to combat, witnessing violence, and the stress of deployment can significantly increase the risk of developing PTSD among veterans.

PTSD Rates Among Veterans on the Rise

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 15% of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom experienced PTSD in the past year, and 29% experienced PTSD at some point in life. 14% of veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War experienced PTSD in the past years, and 21% at some point in life. 

5% of veterans who served during the Vietnam War experienced PTSD in the past year, and 10% at some point in life. 2% of veterans who served during World War II experienced PTSD in the past year, and 3% at some point in life. 

However, these statistics are informed by data on veterans who are still alive and not reflective of those who may have died having suffered from PTSD. 

Service MissionExperienced PTSD in the Past YearExperienced PTSD at Some Point in Life
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)15%29%
Persian Gulf War14%21%
Vietnam War 5%10%
World War II 2%3%

Comparatively, PTSD prevalence among veterans is higher, with 7% experiencing PTSD at some point in their lives, compared to the general population at 6%. Additionally, female veterans are more susceptible to developing PTSD, with the rate at 13% compared to male veterans at 6%. 

The constant exposure to high-stress environments, multiple deployments, and the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life can exacerbate PTSD symptoms among veterans. This highlights the importance of specialized care and support tailored to their unique experiences and needs.

Symptoms and Signs of PTSD in Veterans

Recognizing the signs of PTSD and how PTSD affects veterans is crucial for early intervention and support. Veterans experiencing PTSD may exhibit a range of behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms that can significantly impact their daily lives and overall well-being. Documenting these symptoms and securing a medical diagnosis is a key part of how to succeed in a VA PTSD claim.

Behavioral Symptoms

Veterans with PTSD may display behaviors such as avoidance of triggering situations or places, hyper-vigilance, irritability, outbursts of anger, and an increased startle response. These symptoms can interfere with social relationships, work performance, and overall quality of life.

Emotional Symptoms

Emotional symptoms of PTSD in veterans can include feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, and emotional numbing. Most veterans with PTSD struggle with regulating their emotions, experience mood swings, and have difficulty trusting others. 

Physical Symptoms

PTSD can also manifest in physical symptoms among veterans. Physical symptoms can include insomnia, nightmares, chronic pain, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and heightened stress responses. These physical manifestations of PTSD can further exacerbate the psychological distress experienced by veterans. Veterans may qualify for VA disability benefits for physical conditions that are secondary to their service-connected PTSD.

Impact of PTSD on Veterans’ Lives

PTSD can have profound effects on a veteran’s life, impacting various aspects of their well-being and functioning. In terms of personal relationships, veterans with PTSD may struggle with intimacy, communication, and trust. Unfortunately, this often leads to strained relationships and social isolation.

When it comes to employment and career prospects, PTSD affects veterans’ by hindering their ability to maintain steady employment, interfering with their job performance, and limiting their career advancement opportunities. This can contribute to financial instability and added stress.

While a veterans disability claim can help vets with PTSD secure VA benefits to offset lost income, many still experience other costs. Challenges in daily functioning and quality of life are also prevalent among veterans with PTSD. Symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance can disrupt sleep, concentration, and overall function.

If left untreated, PTSD can result in long-term consequences. This includes worsening mental health, higher rates of chronic health conditions, increased risk of substance abuse, and a greater likelihood of social and occupational impairment. Seeking timely intervention and support is crucial in mitigating these long-term effects and improving overall well-being.

PTSD Coping Mechanisms and Treatment Options

Exploring effective coping mechanisms and treatment options is essential for supporting veterans in managing PTSD and improving their quality of life. Veterans facing PTSD can benefit greatly from utilizing various strategies to cope with daily challenges.

  • Therapy and Counseling: Engaging in therapy sessions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or group therapy, can help veterans process their trauma, develop coping skills, understand the unique ways PTSD affects veterans, and address underlying issues contributing to their PTSD.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness techniques and meditation can help veterans reduce stress, manage anxiety, and promote relaxation.
  • Physical Exercise: Regular physical activity, whether through sports, yoga, or gym workouts, can help veterans alleviate symptoms of PTSD, improve mood, and boost overall well-being.
  • Social Support: Building a strong support network of family, friends, and fellow veterans can provide crucial emotional support, understanding, and companionship during challenging times.
  • Art and Music Therapy: Engaging in creative outlets like art or music therapy can offer veterans alternative ways to express themselves, process emotions, and find peace.
  • Service Animals: Having a service animal can provide comfort, companionship, and assistance to veterans with PTSD. Animals can help reduce anxiety and improve overall mental well-being.
  • Mind-Body Techniques: Practices like breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and biofeedback can help manage stress, regulate emotions, and enhance self-awareness in coping with PTSD symptoms.

How to Support Veterans with PTSD

Supporting veterans with PTSD is a crucial aspect of their recovery and well-being. By understanding how to provide meaningful support, we can contribute to their healing journey and overall quality of life.

Ways Family and Friends Can Help

Family and friends can support veterans with PTSD by listening without judgment, offering emotional support, encouraging treatment-seeking behavior, assisting in daily tasks when needed, and being patient and understanding during difficult times. 

Your unwavering support and compassion play a significant role in the veteran’s recovery process. Additionally, family and friends can help veterans with PTSD in their pursuit of VA disability benefits. For example, you could contribute a statement supporting their claim or offer them a ride to their Compensation and Pension exam.

Resources and Organizations for Veterans

Veterans have access to valuable resources and support through organizations like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA provides medical care, counseling services, and benefits assistance tailored to every veteran’s needs. 

Additionally, Bartlett Legal Group specializes in helping veterans file disability benefit claims for PTSD, ensuring you or your loved one receives compensation and support for service-related mental health conditions. We also help veterans secure VA disability benefits for secondary conditions, such as depression, that can arise from service-connected PTSD.

Importance of Raising Awareness and Reducing Stigma

Raising awareness about PTSD among veterans and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health challenges are essential steps in creating a supportive environment for those affected. 

By fostering open conversations, promoting education, and advocating for mental health resources, we can help destigmatize PTSD and encourage veterans to seek help without fear of judgment or discrimination. 

It’s vital to show understanding and empathy towards veterans battling PTSD, creating a culture of support and acceptance within our communities.

Navigating the challenges of PTSD as a veteran can be daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. Bartlett Legal Group understands the complexities veterans encounter, and we are here to provide the support and guidance you need.

At Bartlett Legal Group, your well-being is our priority. We are dedicated to advocating for your rights and ensuring you receive specialized care tailored to your experiences. Our team of veteran disability appeals lawyers is proud to offer vets our legal expertise so you can secure the care and compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you care for is struggling with PTSD and seeking assistance with your disability benefits claim, contact us today. Take the first step towards healing by calling (850) 332-6434 for expert assistance with your VA PTSD claim. You can also use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.