Departing Warriors Project
Bearing Witness to Their Final Deployment



PTSD and Veterans

Post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after the Veteran experiences a traumatic event. During this type of event, the Veteran believes his/her life or others’ lives are in danger. She/he may feel afraid or feel that they have no control over what is happening. Note: this information is described as applying to Veterans, but is applicable to any individual. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events can include:

  • Combat or military exposure
  • Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Serious accidents, such as a car wreck
  • Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake


After the event, the Veteran may feel scared, confused, or angry. If these feelings don’t go away or they get worse, the symptoms may disrupt the person’s life, making it hard to continue daily activities. All Veterans with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD. Most Veterans who go through a traumatic event have some symptoms at the beginning. Yet only some will develop PTSD; the reason for this is not clear. How likely someone is to get PTSD depends on many things:

  • How intense the trauma was or how long it lasted
  • If someone close was lost hurt
  • Proximity to the event
  • Strength of the reaction to the event
  • How much the Veteran felt in control of events
  • How much help and support the Veteran got after the event


This Project supports research into the causes and alleviation of PTSD symptoms in Veterans, including developments in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and other brain science techniques, to mitigate the symptoms of PTSD.