PTSD in Military Veterans and Law Enforcement

PTSD in Military Veterans and Law Enforcement

Many Soldiers Returning from Combat are Diagnosed with PTSD


Studies show that an estimated 1-2 out of every 10 soldiers returning from war or combat in a military situation will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (National Center for PTSD, 2008). Many soldiers are sensitive and self-conscious about the disorder and the diagnosis and believe that possibly receiving treatment would harm their careers and their future. The fear is in their diagnoses being discovered by a future employer and the information being used against them in a discriminatory fashion.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very serious mental disorder that adversely affects those who serve in military or law enforcement positions. PTSD may result in severe, debilitating anxiety and depression, but is not as always as obvious as physical injuries. The disorder can be challenging for mental health professionals to detect, recognize and diagnose because PTSD and other mental health issues do not often appear immediately.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder carries significant symptoms that can be detected by a field-trained expert. Diagnosing a disorder early can be very helpful to the patient in seeking assistance and mental health stabilization.

PTSD Symptoms


With depressive symptoms of PTSD, there is a frequent and consistent feeling of depression accompanied by a feeling of helplessness. The depression is usually long-lasting and doesn’t always respond immediately to therapy or drugs. Any treatment must be dispensed over a long period of time for efficacy.


Those who suffer with isolation symptoms from the disorder have few friends, and often feel alone. This is true of combat veterans as well as law enforcement officers who suffer from PTSD. Members of these groups often feel rejected because they feel that no wants to hear about their experiences or the gore and detail of the events that they have witnessed.


Often, for no obvious reasons, the person who suffers with PTSD will strike out at those around him. This frequently includes spouses and children, and may include co-workers and even neighbors. This behavior is quite frightening and may cause individuals to seek medical assistance before harm is done to themselves or families.

Detachment of Feelings: Alienation

Sufferers are often troubled by the tragedy that they’ve witnessed and become detached, cold and have difficulty conveying their true feelings. They may feel more comfortable dealing with the tragedy in their own detached way, and often describe themselves as being emotionally dead.

Survivor’s Guilt

Survivors often feel great pangs of guilt when they have survived and others have died. Sometimes, the survivor has had to do something contrary or compromising in order to live and the guilt of such an act invokes guilt that is so deep that it can result in self-destructive behavior by the survivor.
While PTSD is not uncommon, it is a serious condition that warrants medical attention and/or psychological intervention. When someone experiences symptoms of PTSD he or she should receive medical attention from a physician or a psychologist as soon as possible.

TSC Sources and Resources

  • Can a Veteran go into Law Enforcement after a PTSD Diagnosis?
  • PTSD & Mental Health Articles
  • Law Enforcement Officers learn to help veterans in crisis