Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is caused by very stressful, frightening, and traumatic events.

Those with PTSD will have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended.

You may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares. You may feel sadness, fear, and anger, and you may feel estranged or detached from other people.

PTSD is a common diagnosis among those who have served in the military, because of the traumatic events they may have been exposed to during service.

However if you are a veteran struggling with your mental health, it may not mean you have PTSD. There are other mental health diagnoses, which include anxiety and depression.

More information

For further information on PTSD visit the NHS website. The mental health charity Mind also provide helpful information.


PTSD can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. Symptoms can vary widely from person to person, but can include:

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event (flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive or distressing images or sensations, sweating, pain, feeling sick)
  • Avoidance and emotional numbing
  • Hyperarousal (the feeling of being ‘on edge’)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Some people with PTSD can sometimes begin to use risk-taking behaviours such as substance misuse, taking anger out on loved ones, and spending money above their means.

PTSD develops in around 1 in 3 people who experience severe trauma. It is not fully understood why some people develop PTSD and others do not.

Where can I get support for PTSD?

  • Speak to your GP
    They can refer you to specialists, such as Op COURAGE: the Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service if you are in England, to help determine if you do have PTSD, or if you are experiencing another mental health condition. They will also support you in getting the best treatment.
    Find out how to register with a GP.
  • Combat Stress
    Combat stress help veterans deal with issues like PTSD, anxiety and depression. They provide specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues related to their military service.
    Helpline: 0800 138 1619 (available 24/7)
    Text: 07537 173683
    Email: [email protected]