Walking through a crowded shopping mall can bring back memories of war. The shifting crowds, the jostle of passers-by and the din can all trigger Army Sgt. Kristofer Goldsmith's post-traumatic stress disorder.
"You get used to scanning what everybody's doing. Your brain just starts working so fast and it's purely instinctual because you want to know what everyone's intent is around you," said Goldsmith, who served four years in active duty.
"You want to know if anyone has the intent to harm you or the capabilities to harm you."
That hyper-vigilance is one common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD, an anxiety disorder, can develop after a terrifying or life-threatening event, or a series of events causing extreme stress.
It's a complex disorder that displays myriad symptoms. People may become more depressed, aggressive, or emotionally detached. For Goldsmith, the chest-tightening anxiety attacks and trouble sleeping he experienced after returning from Iraq in 2005 indicated he was suffering from PTSD. Read full article »