Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions don’t go away over time or disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.
Do I have PTSD?
A natural first question is whether your symptoms might be due to PTSD. A good place to start learning about PTSD is the PTSD Overview page on the VA website. You should know, though, that having symptoms does not always mean that you have PTSD. Some reactions to stress and trauma are normal. Since many common reactions look like the symptoms of PTSD, a doctor must decide if you have PTSD
Also, stressors other than trauma may cause symptoms that are like those of PTSD. For example, work or money problems can lead to symptoms. Medical problems such as heart disease or diabetes, or mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, can have symptoms that look like PTSD. That is why you should see a provider who is trained to know which of your symptoms might be PTSD.
If I have other problems, can I also have PTSD?
Veterans with PTSD often have other types of problems. They might have other stress, medical or mental health problems. Sometimes PTSD is overlooked when other problems seem very pressing. If you have questions, ask your doctor if PTSD also needs to be treated.
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free, confidential resource connecting Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified caring responders.
Veterans and their loved ones can:
- call 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 or
- chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or
- send us a text at 838255
to receive free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 day per year even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.
The professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances – from Veterans coping with mental health issues to Veterans struggling with relationships, transitions, etc.
The VA Medical Center provides counseling and resources for all veterans of all eras.
1055 Clermont Street
Denver, CO 80220-3808
for additional resources:
Am I eligible for VA services?
All Veterans could possibly be eligible. Here is a brief list of factors that make up whether you are eligible:
- You completed active military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard (or Merchant Marines during WW II).
- You were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
- You are a National Guard member or Reservist who has completed a federal deployment to a combat zone.
You should also be aware that:
- Health care eligibility is not just for those who served in combat.
- Other groups may be eligible for some health benefits.
- Veteran’s health care is not just for service-connected injuries or medical conditions.
- Signing up for health care is separate from signing up for other benefits at VA.
- Veteran’s health care facilities are for both women and men. VA offers full-service health care to women Veterans.
For Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, some benefits have been added. In January, 2008, the period of eligibility for free health care was extended from two to five years.
VA operates a yearly enrollment system that helps make sure that Veterans who are eligible can get care. Your DD 214 is used to enroll for VA services. If you have trouble locating this form, VA Enrollment can still assist you.
What help is there for me (or my Veteran family member)?
PTSD is treatable. Many places within VA provide PTSD treatment. General programs that provide mental health services include VA medical centers, community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs), and Vet Centers.