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"PTS(D): Myths & misconceptions of post traumatic stress" presented at CTU Colorado Springs

CTU Colorado Springs PTSD Event November 5, 2015Why should the D in PTSD be removed? On November 5, retired Green Beret and CTU alumnus Chris Schafer and CTU professor Dr. Brent Carter answered this question while presenting "PTS(D): Myths & misconceptions of post traumatic stress" at Colorado Technical University’s Colorado Springs campus. Schafer and Dr. Carter’s presentation and the following discussion with attendees highlighted common assumptions about Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and why they believe the D should be dropped from PTSD.

They noted that people tend to presume that veterans with PTS are:

  • loose cannons / highly unpredictable / unreliable
  • socially dysfunctional
  • prone to loud noises setting them off
  • wound too tight and are ready to snap
  • in need of just "talking" it out
  • needing to just move on

Due to the extended conflict our military community has been engaged in -- “a prolonged conflict unlike any time in U.S. history,” said Dr. Carter -- our armed forces members are experiencing “the normal compounded responses to witnessing the traumatic effects of war. Unfortunately, the myths and misconceptions infused throughout civilian society about PTS are creating greater problems for soldiers who are in the midst of transitioning home. ” He continued, “We need to educate ourselves on the truths and lies about PTS and then position ourselves in support of creating safe / healthy environments at home and in the workplace. Our ignorance is making PTS worse in many cases."

The D is problematic because it associates PTS with a disorder, making it seem like veterans who are suffering from PTS are somehow damaged or their behaviors are different from anyone suffering after a traumatic event. “Education is the key to understanding PTS,” noted Schafer. “When we associate PTS with a disorder it can have damaging effects. For veterans that suffer from PTS, some feel like they are damaged goods,” he said.

There is an ongoing disparity in how U.S. companies respond to employees with military service: “On the corporate side of the house, the assumption is that all veterans have a certain level of PTS and require additional risk mitigation. This same level of risk mitigation is not a prevalent concern for non-veterans. Anyone can suffer from post traumatic stress: first responders, those that work in the emergency medical field, and anyone experiencing a terrifying event. PTS is a normal reaction to a non-normal situation,” Schafer emphasized.

By giving PTS briefings and leading discussions, Schafer and Dr. Carter hope to dispel common myths and misconceptions, raise awareness, and educate people about ways to provide better support for armed forces members in their home and work communities.

The event was sponsored by SOLIDRed Concepts, a company created and managed by Schafer and Dr. Carter that strives to assist U.S. companies in understanding issues like that of PTS to bring about a better work force environment, creating a better bottom line.

Visit SOLIDRed’s website and podcast, The Rendition Room, to learn more about PTS.

Learn more about CTU and its opportunities for U.S. military members and their families.