Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A Biblical Approach

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

By William R. Kimball

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1 How do I know if I have PTSD?

Self-diagnosis is not always accurate or reliable, but if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms in the aftermath of some traumatic event or sustained trauma over a period of time (i.e. combat or sustained, high stress situations) it is wise to seek further counseling with an experience medical professional in the private sector or with the V.A. 

Some of the signs of PTSD usually include several of the following symptoms:

  1. Reoccurring or sustained Depression. An evaluation of the symptoms of depression can be provided by most doctors.
  2. Anxiety or panic attacks
  3. Flashbacks or re-occurring nightmares.
  4. Emotional "numbing"
  5. Hyper-vigilance
  6. Alienation tendency to isolate or social distancing
  7. Loss of memory and concentration
  8. Alcohol or drug dependence (usually to numb the emotional pain)
  9. Inability to form intimate or trusting relationships.
  10. Reoccurring anger or rage
  11. Suicidal thoughts or obsession.
  12. A prolonged feeling of "fore-shortening" This is the troubling thoughts that your life will be cut short in the near future.  
  13. Startle response
  14. Reoccurring sleep disturbances and frequent insomnia
2 How will I know if I've successfully dealt with it?

PTSD is a life long condition. It is a traumatic wounding of the psychy and the soul. However, You can learn to cope with the situation and find healing of the negative consequences of the condition.

3 What are some of the initial steps I should take to deal with it?

Seek trained psychiatric help or a V.A. evaluation (note: V.A. is the leader in understanding and dealing with PTSD). Your average family doctor and often psychologists are not skilled at diagnosis or treating PTSD.  Also, see the Professional Christian Counseling section of this site for more information.

4 Is there any value in getting the secular counseling the military is offering me?

Yes, providing they are trained in dealing with PTSD

5 Should I take the drugs I'm being offered to help me deal with my PTSD?

In many cases antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication is needed but your family doctor is not usually trained at dealing with this problem or prescribing the medication if necessary. Refer to question #3.

6 I'm a relative of someone who is dealing with PTSD. What can I do to help them?

They can personally encourage the patient to seek help through a trained psychiatrist or if a vet to contact the V.A. They must understand that having PTSD is not a sign of weakness or character defect but a normal response to an abnormal situation (i.e. Trauma). It is also a condition which has affected veteran's of all wars. Also, see the Professional Christian Counseling section of this site for more information.

7 How long does it typically take to deal with PTSD?

It is a process that can take a long time to work through. There are "no magic bullets" short of a divine intervention. It is a process of first recognizing the problem and naming it. It always requires personal, "one-on-one" counseling and or group counseling with others who have shared like experience (i.e. fellow veterans or trauma victims). V.A. offers these. V.A also offers an extended PTSD program lasting a number of weeks for those who qualify. Sometimes a Christian counselor or pastor is adequately trained or has the life experience and spiritual wisdom to provide the common-sense, encouragement and guidance from a Biblical perspective. Prayer is beneficial. Dealing with the deeper issues of the soul and heart underlying the after effects of trauma is essential it finding healing. However, a simplistic spiritual or religious "cure all" is often naive and can be counter productive.

8 I didn't get my PTSD from combat. I was the victim of a violent crime, in a serious car crash, witnessed a murder, etc. Will these tapes help me?

The same counseling and medication as above would apply for those suffering PTSD in a secular setting. See the Professional Christian Counseling section of this site for more information.

9 What are some of the most common mistakes people who have PTSD make when trying to deal with it?

One of the most common mistakes is denial that you have a problem. Like all personal problems we must first admit it before we can take the steps to deal with it. The delusion that we can deal with it ourselves is a major problem for many - especially for those that feel they are tough enough to deal with it themselves or mistakenly think that only the weak, whiners, or sissies have PTSD. Just "bucking up", moving on or praying through won't do it. Once a person has taken the first step he or she must continue on the path of healing. Also, just because you have experienced an initial catharsis or breakthrough is not the proof that the problem has been really deal with. The common fallacy of a momentary "euphoria" quickly wears off and can lead the sufferer to be more discouraged and depressed than before. An initial catharsis or breakthrough is not the end of the road for healing but only an important beginning.

10 Who can I talk to about my PTSD?

See answers to questions #6 and #7 above.

11 Should the veteran seek compensation from V.A.

Yes. If you think you have PTSD file a claim with your local V.A. or V.A. regional office. Compensation is awarded on a percentage basis depending on the severity of the condition. Also, veteran's advocacy groups such as the American Legion or Purple Hearts Veterans can help with your claim. If not satisfied with your award file an appeal. Note: It takes months to receive an award after filing a claim but if you are awarded one it is retroactive to the date you filed.  The best first step is to contact your local or county V.A. representative. The number can be found in your phone book.

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