Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Frequently Asked Questions
1.What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can
occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such
as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents,
abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, ritual), and violent personal assaults
like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through
nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or
estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to
significantly impair the person's daily life.
PTSD is marked by clear biological changes as well as psychological
symptoms. PTSD is complicated by the fact that it frequently occurs in
conjunction with related disorders such as depression, substance abuse,
problems of memory and cognition, and other problems of physical and mental
health. The disorder is also associated with impairment of the person's
ability to function in social or family life, including occupational
instability, marital problems and divorces, family discord, and difficulties
For a further definition, please go to What
Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
2.What treatments are available for PTSD?
Elements common to many treatment modalities for PTSD include education,
exposure, exploration of feelings and beliefs, and coping skills training.
Additionally, the most common treatment modalities include
cognitive-behavioral treatment, pharmacotherapy, EMDR, group treatment, and
For a further discussion, please go to Treatment
3.How do I locate specialists or support groups for PTSD?
You can contact any of the following organizations. They all have referral
capabilities: the Sidran Foundation 410-825-8888, Anxiety Disorders
Association of America 212-543-5355; American Psychological Association
800-964-2000; NAMI 800-950-6264
Also, your local Mental Health Services office (found in the Yellow Pages
of your telephone book) should be able to assist you.
To locate help online, please click on Seeking
Help for PTSD.
4. I am an American Veteran. Who do I contact for help with PTSD?
You can contact your local VA Hospital or Veterans Center or call the VA
Health Benefits Service Center toll free at 1-877-222-VETS!
For online help, please go to Specialized
PTSD Treatment Programs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
5. As an American Veteran, how do I file a claim for disability due to
A determination of "service-connected" disability for PTSD is
made by the Compensation and Pension Service -- an arm of VA's Veterans
Benefits Administration. The clinicians who provide care for veterans in VA's
specialized PTSD clinics and Vet Centers do not make this decision. A formal
request ("claim") must be filed by the veteran using forms provided
by the VA's Veterans Benefits Administration. After the forms are completely
submitted, the veteran must complete interviews concerning her or his
"social history" (a review of family, work, and educational
experiences before, during, and after military service) and "psychiatric
status" (a review of past and current psychological symptoms, and of
traumatic experiences during military service). The forms and information
about the application process can be obtained by Benefits Officers at any VA
Medical Center, Outpatient Clinic, or Regional Office.
The process of applying for a VA disability for PTSD can take several
months, and can be both complicated and quite stressful. The Veteran's Service
Organizations provide "Service Officers" at no cost to help veterans
and family members pursue VA disability claims. Service Officers are familiar
with every step in the application and interview process, and can provide both
technical guidance and moral support. In addition, some Service Officers
particularly specialize in assisting veterans with PTSD disability claims.
Even if a veteran has not been a member of a specific Veterans Service
Organization, the veteran still can request the assistance of a Service
Officer working for that organization. In order to get representation by a
qualified and helpful Service Officer, you can directly contact the local
office of any Veterans Service Organization -- or ask for recommendations from
other veterans who have applied for VA disability, or from a PTSD specialist
at a VA PTSD clinic or a Vet Center.
For online information, please click on Help
for Veterans and Their Families.
6. Do you have brochures/handouts/videos available?
Anything on our website is in the Public Domain and is free for you to use,
reproduce, and distribute as needed. Especially useful are Facts
about PTSD where general facts, facts about treatment, information for
veterans, and specific topics related to trauma are located.
Brochures are and videos are currently under development, and will be
posted on the website as soon as they are made available for distribution.
7. Does the National Center for PTSD publish any journals? How do I
Yes, the National Center publishes two journals.
Research Quarterly contains review articles on specific topics related to
PTSD, written by guest experts. Each article contains a selective bibliography
with abstracts and a supplementary list of annotated citations. The Research
Quarterly is sent free of charge to qualified readers, and is available to
others by subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office. It is received by many government documents depository
libraries. Or you may obtain a copy of any issue from this Web site. Each
issue of the PTSD Research Quarterly is available in Portable Document Format
(PDF), which reproduces the exact format of the paper edition. You may read
the issue on your computer monitor, or print it on your PostScript printer. In
order to read or print PDF documents, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
The appropriate version for your computer may be obtained free of charge from
the Adobe Web site.
Clinical Quarterly is published by the Clinical Laboratory and Education
Division of the National Center for PTSD. It is addressed to the needs of
practicing PTSD clinicians and program administrators, providing them with an
overview of the major clinical, theoretical, and programmatic developments in
To be placed on the mailing list for either subscription, please contact
Sandra Mariotti at Sandra.Mariotti@Dartmouth.edu
or tel. 802-296-5132 ext. 5132.
8.How do I locate books on PTSD?
You can buy books here for the consumer and the clinician at Mental Health
Today at http:/www.mental-health-today.com/ptsd/books/
9. I am a professional who would like to know what training is available
from the National Center for PTSD.
Clinical Training Program
The Clinical Laboratory and Education offers an on-site clinical training
program in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress. The training program is 35
hours long, and is approved for category 1 continuing medical education
National Disaster Mental Health Program
The National Center for PTSD) along with the Readjustment Counseling
Service (RCS) provide a training program designed to develop a national cadre
of VA Medical Center (VAMC) and RCS mental health personnel prepared to
respond to regional and national disasters.
Advanced Disaster Mental health training workshops
The National Center offers VA employees a two-Day training on disaster
mental health intervention, including elements of assessment, outreach, crisis
intervention, VAís integration with other agencies, and short-term treatment.
For more information, see Training
Opportunities at NCPTSD.
10. As a professional, I need to locate a specific assessment instrument
for PTSD. How do I do that?
Three assessment instruments, CAPS, CAPS-CA, and TESI-C,
can be requested online through the National Center for PTSD website. For more
information, see Assessment.
The information on this Web site is
presented for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for informed
medical advice or training. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a
mental health problem without consulting a qualified health or mental health
All information contained on these
pages is in the public domain unless explicit notice is given to the contrary,
and may be copied and distributed without restriction.
For more information call the PTSD Information Line at
(802) 296-6300 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page was last updated on Wed Jul 10 15:22:30 2002.
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