PUBLIC PTSD PERCEPTION: FIRST RESPONDER AND MILITARY MEMBER
thesisposted on 13.05.2019, 00:00 by Bradley Lutz
PTSD has only been recognized as a diagnosable illness since 1986. Prior to that, PTSD symptoms carried names such as Shell Shock or Combat Fatigue. Historical documentation of PTSD symptoms can be traced back more than a millennium however, to the writings of Homer and his poem The Iliad. In it, he described Achilles as a Trojan War veteran who is continually awakened and tormented by thoughts of a fallen comrade. Contemporary research has shown that up to 90% of people diagnosed with PTSD have difficulty sleeping. Much of the existing research has been aimed at military members and veterans of military service who have a PTSD driven suicide rate nearly four times that of the general public (12.6 vs 44 per 100,000). Almost no research exists that studies how PTSD affects U.S. first responders (Paramedics, Firefighters, and Law Enforcement officer), but suicide monitoring groups believe that the rate of suicide for first responders may be as high as 65 in 100,000 or 170% the military rate. The project goal was to determine if there is a discrepancy in public perception of PTSD symptoms and related suicide rates between military veterans and first responders. Using an online set of Likert scaled questions, 284 people completed the survey. The data shows that survey respondents expect first responders to experience trauma as part of their vocation more often than military members, while at the same time experiencing PTSD type symptoms to a lesser degree.