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Top 8 PTSD Resources for Transitioning Veterans

Learn what you need to know about post-traumatic stress disorder, from identifying the symptoms to finding treatment.


This article is a part of our veterans’ resource series, which is focused on PoliceOne readers who are also military veterans.

By Megan Wells

Transitioning from military life to civilian life will happen differently for every veteran. The feelings associated with this new phase of life may be intense and can come on without warning. Life can start to feel overwhelming if you aren’t sure what you’re experiencing, or where to turn for help.

Seeking emotional support is important during transition, especially if you’re also coping with memories of combat trauma. Your stress may not be a direct result of transitioning; it may be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is PTSD, and how will I know if it’s affecting me?

It is common for veterans to miss the signs of PTSD. You may feel different, but it’s hard to be sure if it is stress symptoms from the transitioning process or PTSD. According to the Warrior Transition Command, PTSD is an anxiety (or stress) disorder that occurs after experiencing a traumatic event, and soldiers with PTSD may experience some or all of these common symptoms:

  • Reliving the trauma, such as becoming upset when confronted with a reminder or thinking about the trauma when you are trying to do something else.
  • Staying away from places or people that remind you of the trauma, isolating yourself from other people or feeling numb.
  • Startling easily and feeling on-guard and irritable.
  • If you are feeling these signs of PTSD, read on. There are some great resources to help you accept and overcome post-traumatic stress.

Resources to help understand PTSD

When you’re ready to definitively learn if you have PTSD or not, there are resources which allow you to find answers privately or with the assistance of trained health providers.

  1. If you’d prefer take the initial steps of diagnosis alone, the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs offers confidential, online, mental health screenings to help assess what your stress symptoms are telling you.
  2. If you think you might have PTSD and would like to be screened by a trained evaluator, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America can help locate professionals near you.
  3. You may find it helpful to hear from other veterans who are dealing with similar transitioning challenges. Make the Connection is a website that features articles and videos detailing other veteran’s experiences, including how they deal with PTSD while transitioning. The website also offers detailed sub-sections that help explain signs and symptoms of PTSD. Did you know that alcoholism or lack of sleep can both be indicators of PTSD?
  4. If you’re looking for a site where you can read up on the symptoms and effects of PTSD, the Defense Centers of Excellence provides an abundance of information related to psychological health and traumatic brain injury.

Resources for getting the help you need

If you have PTSD, you don’t need to deal with it on your own. Just like many other illnesses, there is treatment for PTSD. Treatment is easily obtainable, too. Look into these resources for finding your treatment options and locations for PTSD services.

  1. If you believe that you have PTSD, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers many resources to get help.
  2. If you’re unsure about your options for treatment and what is available, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Center for PTSD provide a good resource to discover which options are available.
  3. Your Warrior Transition Unit Cadre will have additional information about treatment options that best fit your needs and nearby centers you can visit.
  4. For an innovative approach toward addressing PTSD, Teachers College at Columbia University has recently launched a resilience program for veterans and families. The goal of the program is to understand the experiences, strengths and difficulties each family goes through during the transition process. From there experts will offer psychological services, alongside education, support and community collaboration.

Dealing with PTSD while transitioning is a lot to handle, but without proper treatment, it will not go away. Realizing the roots of your stress and understanding there is help can lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

The Police1 Lifestyle content series is written for the off-duty police officer. Here you’ll find content on everything from the latest automotive and entertainment trends to tips and tricks for financial planning – all written from a police officer’s perspective, with an eye toward what makes you unique even when you’re not on patrol.