We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
PTSD is one of those fad diagnoses which won many adherents in the past ten years, even gaining admission to the DSM.
As I have written before, very few of the descriptive Psychiatric diagnoses have validity - all most of them (with a handful of notable exceptions) have is varying degrees of reliability. In my field, a diagnosis does not mean a disease in the usual medical sense (which is why we call them "disorders").
What is termed PTSD is presumed to be a collection of complaints which some (but not most) people experience following significant emotional trauma. There is no doubt that people are distressed by, and, I think, permanently altered by significant emotional trauma. It doesn't have to be bad experiences in combat, because many things in life can constitute emotional trauma (depending on the person's psychological make-up). The reason PTSD is so often studied in combat vets is because that's where the research money is. (In the past, such symptoms were classed as ""nervous in the service," "combat fatigue," "shell shock," "traumatic neurosis," and the like.)
Give "On Killing" by Lt Col Grossman a read. I found it illuminating at what might really be the cause of legitimate PTSD.
Shortest version possible summary: Those who have been actively involved with personal killing seem to honestly suffer. Those who are remotely involved, like aircrews and artillery troops seem much less so. When it gets down to one human being killing another human being on a personal level, "normal" humans seem to suffer. And many refuse to do it. They intentionally fire to miss, or fall into a support role. The few crazy ones aren't phased a bit. They like it.
As I said, emotional trauma can have painful consequences for some. I am not prepared to say that character weakness is the problem. Everybody has weaknesses. I am not, definitely not, about coddling people, but just about trying to understand whatever it is that gives them trouble in life.
Machinegun fire, combined with explosions, confusion, conflicting screaming, seeing wounded buddies, and outright bedlam does tend to make ones mind a touch flukey at times.
Sniper fire and exploding landmines are the worse - that unknown factor tends to tweak it a touch more. My personal favorite is parachuting into the pitch-black dark, unsure where you're gonna land, and what's waiting there when you hit ground.
PTSD? I always though it was SSDD (same sh!t, different day) -well, my PLT SGT always said it was...
As I understand the symptoms usually described for PTSD, I would expect nearly all combat veterans to have some markers or some level of the disorder. Depending on severity and the individual, the experience and even some of the symptomoloy might make a stronger person.
My own experience with PTSD is not from my miltary service. It stems from childhood physical abuse, events that replay in nightmares even now. I had stressful events in the military, although not combat, and they are part of my personality. They are not the source of nightmares.
My aunt was involved in a tragic auto accident after her son's wedding, in which her (still good friends) ex-husband was killed and she, her son and new daughter-in-law were severely injured. They were all trapped in the car for about 15 minutes while her ex died painfully and they were not able to extricate themselves to help him. Many of our friends thought of all people to be strong enough to handle it, she would be one. But those of us closest to her knew that her parents and grandparents, indeed her brother and sister, were emotionally distant individuals and in their family, stoicism ruled the day always, so she had not the skills to deal with the emotional guilt and trauma after the physical woulds had healed. Those of us closest to her recognized the symptoms described as PTSD. While her issues were not manifested as violence, they were real indeed and ruled her life for many, many years before we could convince her she needed professional help that we could not give her. She's doing fine now after about a year of that help. There are just those who've never been given the opportunity to learn, or be taught, the skills. It's not their fault, and skills can be learned. I'm glad there is research into it, and people are helped.