Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur when a person is exposed to an extraordinary life-threatening situation, which is perceived with intense fear, horror and helplessness. Visit the NHS website for more information about PTSD, its causes, how it is treated and advice about when you should seek medical advice.
If you believe you are suffering from PTSD, you should consult your doctor. If you don't currently have a doctor, use the NHS GP locator to find one in your area.It is important to register with an NHS GP and tell them that you have served in the Armed Forces so, where appropriate, you can access dedicated services for veterans. This includes the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) and the Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS).
You can also get help from Combat Stress, the UK's leading charity for veterans' mental health, provides specialist clinical treatment for PTSD to help former servicemen and women understand the condition and learn to cope with their symptoms. To find out more, visit the Combat Stress website.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares, intrusive memories and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping and can find it difficult to concentrate.
The symptoms of PTSD are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person's day-to-day life.
What treatment is available?
Your GP will carry out an initial assessment. If you have had symptoms for over four weeks or your condition is considered severe, you may be referred to a mental health specialist for treatment. This could include a referral to the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS).
Visit the NHS Choices website for more information about the types of psychotherapy available to treat people with PTSD.
Who can help?
Combat Stress is the UK's leading charity for veterans' mental health. For almost a century the charity has helped former servicemen and women deal with issues like trauma, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. On the phone and online. In the community and at its treatment centres. Services are free of charge to veterans. For support, contact the Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 138 1619.
The RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) has a strong tradition of looking after the RAF Family in the UK and overseas. They are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children. They also offer a wellbeing service to help with mental health issues.
Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) is a national charity that provides access to private face-to-face therapy for mild-moderate (Step 3) mental health issues through its Head Start programme. Complementing the NHS and other third sector organisations in the provision of mental health support, Head Start support veterans who are on long NHS waiting lists or where resources are unavailable. The programme is available to all veterans who have given one day's service to the Armed Forces. Visit the WWTW website for more information.