It is caused by a traumatic event in a person’s life that is outside the normal scope of life.  It can be caused by
COMBAT, a terrible car accident, a natural disaster or a man made disaster such as the World Trade Center
airplane crashes.

For us COMBAT VETERANS it is probably caused by the horrible things we saw, had to put up with, and
sometimes even did to survive. This could be anything from watching / holding your buddy as he died, getting
wounded, killing the enemy up close and personal or seeing the results of your firing on the enemy. Maybe it was
because of digging up graves to get a body count and smelling the odor of rotten flesh. The smell of burning flesh
or even the smell of burning s**t as it drifted across the base camp.

We did NOT think anything of our actions at the time. It was just surviving the war and trying to get back to the
“World”.

I believe a lot of US HAVE IT, but do not want to admit it, because it would show a sign of weakness in the male
ego. That could never happen to me, you say. Well, I am here to tell you that it can and probably has happened
to YOU.  Let me give you some things to think about.

Who are your closest FRIENDS?  Betcha they are COMBAT VETERANS and not too many of them either.

Do you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat?

When you go to a restaurant, where do you sit?  With you back to the entrance, NOT VERY LIKELY. You sit
where you can see the whole place, and who is coming and going.

Have you ever gone off on someone for a minor little thing?  Are you quick to get angry at someone?  Have you
come close / or attacked someone for a stupid reason?

How many times have you been married?  Is your wife afraid to come up behind you for fear of getting hit?

Do you check your house inside and outside to make sure it is secure before going to bed?

Did you “crawl inside a bottle” or become a workaholic?

This are just some of the signs of PTSD.

WILL YOU BE CURED?  
 NO
CAN YOU LEARN TO DEAL WITH IT?  YES
WILL YOU HAVE TO TAKE MEDS?  MAYBE
WILL THE V. A. RATE YOU WITH A DISABILITY?  YES, IF YOU CAN PROVE IT AND SHOW A DIRECT LINK
TO YOUR COMBAT EXPERIENCES. If you were in the 1st Air Cav, I guarantee you have it.

How to deal with it is a personal thing. There are many thoughts on how to deal with PTSD and several websites
are out there in cyberspace telling a person how.

Here is what I think is one of the better sites
www.ptsdmanual.com . It is maintained by a COMBAT VET, MSG. I.
S. Parrish, USA Retired. He also gives pointers on how to file a claim, writing the STRESSOR letter, very
important to have this, and several other things that are helpful. He is also pushing his book.

As I get more time, I will update this page as I have many pointers that can help you thru the V. A. System and
also how to deal with PTSD.
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P.T.S.D.
P.T.S.D = Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What is it and how do you get?    Better yet, how to you treat it or cure it?

Before I go further, you are probably wondering what does this guy know about P.T.S.D?

Well, I am rated 100% for P.T.S.D, 20% for scars and disfigurement, 30% for bi-lateral hearing loss and tinnitus,
and 10% for a depressed scar, gunshot wound to right chest and arm.

I do not have any formal training in treating PTSD, but have been in a support group that meets once a week
since 2003.
Pictures of the Pics of I Corps and III Corps VN1st Hand accounts of other TroopersInfo on Post Traumatic Stress DisorderUnofficial script for folding the FlagTomb of the Unknows, ArlingtonLinks to other sitesMurphy's Laws of Combat
Home page of Charlie Co. 1st Bn 8th Cav VNtroopers who served in 19681968 Charlie Co KIA's Move from II Corps to I CorpsSave the Marines at Khe SanhThe A Shau Valley, Operation DelawareBattle at The Street of No JoyMove from I Corps to III Corps, Tay NinhFirefights and Battles in November 1968
                                                Evidence of Record and Your Stressor Letter

SAMPLE LETTER
Date
Address of Regional Office
Reference: _____________ (Your file No.)
Subject: Addendum to Stress Letter

Dear Sir:
The following is an addendum to my Stress Letter dated __________.
Add as last paragraph:
These events took place during or as the result of a combat situation and occurred in action against an enemy
of the United States. I swear the above information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Respectfully,
Your Name

END OF SAMPLE LETTER
IF YOU HAVE NOT SUBMITTED A CLAIM FOR PTSD YET, BE SURE AND ADD THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH
AT THE END OF YOUR LETTER.

What you are doing here is establishing "evidence of record". VA Manual 21-1, Chapter 3, Part VI, says "No
combat determination is to be made unless
evidence of record clearly relates the disability to combat origin or
acts of the enemy." In Part III of the M21-1, chapter 1, para 1.01 it says "Decisions on VA benefit eligibility and
entitlement are based on the
evidence of record. Evidence consists of documents, records, testimonials and
information in other forms provided by, or obtained for, a claimant. VA has a duty to assist a claimant who files
a substantially complete claim in obtaining evidence to substantiate his or her claim before making a decision
on the claim. We are charged with granting every benefit supported by the law".
When you state that the
STRESSOR or STRESSORS occurred in a combat situation, it becomes a part of
your claim, this is considered "
evidence of Record".
**************************************************************************************************

My tour was from ____________________________ to ____________________________
I was assigned to _________________________________________________________

My duties as a ______________________________________________________ was to

________________________________________________________________________

2.    Before being in the military I had:
a.        No traumatic experiences.
b.        the following traumatic experience:

__________________________________________________________________________

3.    Since my discharge from the military, I have:
a.        Not had any traumatic experiences.
b.        have had the following traumatic experience:

__________________________________________________________________________
                                                                     
4.    Before being in the military I:
a.        Did not have any psychiatric treatment.
b.        received the following psychiatric treatment:

Place of treatment                                Address                                Dates

__________________________________________________________________________

5.    Since my discharge from the military I:
a.        have not received any psychiatric counseling.
b.        Have received the following psychiatric counseling:

Place of treatment                                Address                                Dates

__________________________________________________________________________
                                                          
6.    I have vivid recollections of upsetting things that happened in the military like:

__________________________________________________________________________


7.    Sometimes I feel as if these events were recurring, or that I am relieving these experiences.
(Describe a recent flash back, what triggered it, and what was your reaction)

________________________________________________________________________

8.    After a flashback I feel ________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

9.    Certain things can cause a flashback like:

Smelling rotten earth, diesel fuel, burning trash, mothballs Oriental food, hearing
helicopters, Oriental people, gunfire, airplanes, loud or sudden noise like a car backfiring
seeing certain tree lines, or other kinds of scenery, being in the woods, Oriental people,
smoke, military and utility uniforms, guns, vehicle accidents on the road, high humidity,
dense fog or heat.

10.   I become distressed each year on the anniversary of: _______________________________

11.   Sometimes I wonder why I am still alive when others died in the military.

12.   I feel guilty about:
a.        Some of the things I did in the military
b.        Surviving the war, when others didn’t.

13.   I try to avoid discussing my military trauma with others because:
a. It upsets me.   b. I get anxious.  c.  It makes me nervous  d. I get depressed
e. I become distressed.  f.___________________________________________

14.   I try to avoid anything that reminds me of my military trauma like:
a.  Being in a crowd,  b.  Around loud noises,  c.  other veterans,  d. Being in the woods

15.   I have tried to block out painful memories of military experiences like:
__________________________________________________________________________

16.   I have blocked out certain portions of my military experience, in that I cannot recall what
I did.
_________________________________________________________________________

17.   I am no longer interested in activities like I used to be, like: a. Sports, b. Baseball,
c. Camping, d. Dancing, e. Music, f. Fishing, g. Golf, h. Hunting, i. Basketball, j. Football,
k. relationships

18.   I do not feel like it is worth getting close to others.

19.   The older I get the less I need people.

20.   Sometimes I feel like shutting the rest of the world away.

21.   I do not enjoy the company of others.

22.   I have little interest in making friends. ____________________________________________

23.   I have problems in dealing with relationships when it comes to showing tenderness,
intimacy, and sexuality.

24.   It seems as if I have no feelings and that I am numb:
                                                                    
25.   I have a hard time expressing my feelings, even to the people I care about.

26.   I don’t want to get involved with any type of relationship because: __________________

27.   I have tried attempted suicide ________________________________ times.
Place                                                                        Date
________________________________________________________________________

28.    a.  Lately, I have felt like killing myself.
b.  Sometimes I have suicidal thoughts and feelings.
c.  I get depressed and can’t snap out of it.
d.  When I think of some of the things I did in the military, I wish I were dead.

29.    I don’t (didn’t) think I will (would) ever have a family because__________________________

30.    I don’t think I will live beyond the age of _______________________ because, ___________

31.    I have had so many jobs since my discharge from the military that I have nothing to look
forward to when I am old enough to retire.

32.    a.  I go to bed around ___________ and get up around _____________________________
b.  I average around _______________________________________ hours of sleep.
c.  I wake up ______________________________________ times during my sleep.
d.  I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
e.  I am afraid to go to sleep at night because: ______________________________________
f.   I have nightmares of experiences in the military that really happened, for example
_________________________________________________________________________

g.  My dreams at night are so real and frightening that I wake up in a sweat.
                                                             
33.    a.  I am not an easy-going, even-tempered person.
b.  I can lose my temper and explode over minor everyday things.
c.  If someone pushes me too far, I am likely to become violent.
d.  People who know me best are afraid of me, and keep their distance.
e.  Sometimes I am frightened by the urge to kill, or injure someone.
f.   When I become angry I have problems:
in expressing my feelings,
have difficulty in controlling any possible violence.
g.  Sometimes I worry about losing my temper because:
_________________________________________________________________________

34.   I feel irritated all the time now.__________________________________________________

35.   I have trouble concentrating or completing tasks like: _______________________________

36.   My memory is not as good as it used to be. _______________________________________

37.   I have greater difficulty in making decisions like: ___________________________________

38.   I have difficulty in anything keeping my interest for long, for example: ___________________

39.   The best way I can describe being hyper-alert or hyper-vigilance is the following example:
__________________________________________________________________________

40.   The following is an example of one of my recent exaggerated startle response: ___________
__________________________________________________________________________

41.   Describe any impulsive behavior, such as sudden change, like place of residence,
unexplained absences, or other changes in life style. ________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

42.   I have to push myself very hard to do anything: ____________________________________


43.   Since my discharge from the military, I have found it (extremely – very - ____________)
difficult to keep a job.

44.   I have not been gainfully employed since: ________________________________________

45.   I have not worked since: ______________________________________________________

46.   I am not able to work around people because: _____________________________________

47.   I cannot work under stress because: ____________________________________________

48.   I cannot work in an office or an enclosed area because: _____________________________

49.   I cannot work around load noises because: _______________________________________

50.   I can’t do any work at all. _____________________________________________________

51.   Do you have a weapon, or booby-trap your living area? If so please describe your means
of protection.
__________________________________________________________________________

52.   Do you ever dress in your cammies or fatigues and go on patrol? If so please describe.

________________________________________________________________________

53.   I received the following (medals – awards):

________________________________________________________________________

54.   The following is a list of my employment before being in the military:

Name of employer                                        Place                                  Dates

________________________________________________________________________

55.   Employment after my discharge from the military:

Name of employer                                        Place                                  Dates

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

59.   I found the following experience(s) most upsetting:
Place                                                                        Date

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________  

===================================================================

Briefly describe an event (
STRESSOR) you experienced while on active duty in the military that
would
be distressing to almost anyone, for example:

A.        A serious threat to one’s life or physical integrity.
B.        Serious threat or harm to one’s children, spouse, or other close relatives and friends.
C.        Sudden destruction of one’s home or community.
D.        Seeing another person who has recently been, or is being, seriously injured or killed as the
result of an accident or physical violence.

The VA will need to confirm your
STRESSOR with the military. You can speed up this process by
Submitting information or evidence of:
Awards and Commendations
Name of battle(s), mission(s), or event(s) including
date and place
Name of person(s) involved, including date and place
DD-214 would be most helpful
*****************************************************************************************
Questions to help you write your STRESSOR letter

The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) is a numeric scale (0 through 100) used by mental health
professionals and described in the
DSM-IV-TR on page 32. Children and adolescents under the age of
18 are evaluated on the
Children’s Global Assessment Scale, or C-GAS.

91-100 Superior functioning in a wide range of activities, life's problems never seem to get out of hand,
is sought out by others because of his or her many qualities. No symptoms.
81-90 Absent or minimal symptoms, good functioning in all areas, interested and involved in a wide
range of activities, socially effective, generally satisfied with life, no more than everyday
problems or concerns.
71-80 If symptoms are present they are transient and expectable reactions to psychosocial stresses; no
more than slight impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning.
61-70 Some mild symptoms OR some difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning, but
generally functioning pretty well, has some meaningful interpersonal relationships.
51-60 Moderate symptoms OR any moderate difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning.
41-50 Serious symptoms OR any serious impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning.
31-40 Some impairment in reality testing or communication OR major impairment in several areas, such
as work or school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood.
21-30 Behavior is considerably influenced by delusions or hallucinations OR serious impairment in
communications or judgment OR inability to function in all areas.
11-20 Some danger of hurting self or others OR occasionally fails to maintain minimal personal hygiene
OR gross impairment in communication.
1-10 Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others OR persistent inability to maintain minimum
personal hygiene OR serious suicidal act with clear expectation of death.
0 Not enough information available to provide GAF.

The lower your score, the higher your rating for P.T.S.D. by the V.A.
*******************************************************************************************
I suggest that you visit the following pages for help with your claim.

http://www.veteransresources.org/forums/931-gaf-100-point-tool-rating-overall-psychological.html?t-931.html=  explains what
the GAF score means. The lower the better.

http://www.ptsdsupport.net/ptsd_gafscores.html  see above explanation of link.

http://www.datehookup.com/content-online-resources-for-dating-with-ptsd.htm
This site is the result of a daughter of a Viet Nam Veteran. "I've been working on my thesis for my Psych Grad degree and
have been using your resources quite a bit. My father is a Vietnam Veteran (Semper Fi!) and suffers from mild PTSD. Which is
why I chose the topic for my thesis because it hits so close to home. When finished I'm going to surprise my dad with my
paper :)"

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2008/02/22/ptsd-victims-no-longer-need-to-prove-trauma/

http://www.ptsdforum.org/index.php

Both of the above state "PTSD Victims No Longer Required To Prove Trauma to VA" and give Rules & Regs, ie Stressor Letter.
The problem with not including a Stressor Letter in your claim is how can the VA know what happened to you. Especially if you
did not get a Purple Heart. NONE of the Firefights or Booby-traps were written in our 201 File.

When you see your Docs or Shrinks and they ask "how to do you feel" DO NOT SAY OK!!!!!

If you do they will automatically think "If this guy is OK, why is he here."  You need to say something like 'Not worth a damn, or
I keep getting bad dreams or flashbacks." Just so long as it is not OK.
When you are scheduled for a Comp & Pen exam for PTSD, get off your meds at least 1 day before so that you are on edge
and ready to rip someone's head off. I stood for 1 1/2 hours with my back in a corner, a chair, then the normal exam table in
front of me and then the Shrink. I could see the door into the room and also out the window. Get MAD,CRY,Cuss out the
Shrink etc.


I strongly recommend that you contact the Disabled American Veterans service officer located in your state VA
regional office or the Viet Nam Veterans of America.  See link below to find your DAV State Office.

http://www.dav.org/veterans/NSOffices.aspx

In my opinion the DAV is like a 5 Star General and they win the battle 99.99% of the time. Give them Power of Attorney to
represent you at the VA and let them carry you claim. Give them all the info you have and be sure and make copies of
everything you give them.
*************************************************************************************************