Veterans bring home more than just the memories of war, they bring back the paranoia and the frustration that came about as a product of their haunting recollections. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a level of emotional disturbance often following veterans returning from war. The actions produced from such a disorder are not limited to quick-trigger aggravation or over active nervous systems. A disturbing factor concerning the disorder is the unprecedented ability of the diagnosed individual to transmit the reactions and stressors to family members. The viability of passing this emotional distress to family members is consistently overlooked by society, but can be justified by the studies of emotional contagions.
Numerous sociological studies show how the actions of an individual can influence and even change the behavior of fellow peers. Actions and emotions are stored in the brain and are mimicked if they become consistent. The consistency of the actions and emotions causes the behavior to become more frequent. Similar to the situation, a wife living with her PTSD husband is often exposed to rash behavior. The behavior can then be passed on subliminally giving family members a much larger chance of becoming stressed as well. If that wasn’t enough, the chance of receiving the disorder is increased by the number of already “infected” patients one is exposed to on a daily basis. This makes the ability to resist imitating the behavior extremely difficult and dealing with it nearly impossible.
PTSD is not a plague that wretches a household, but rather an emotional disturbance that affects family and friends. Actions can be subconsciously passed from a diagnosed person to another individual. PTSD is not ‘literally’ contagious through the behavior and actions of the affected person. The fact that stress is transferrable from one to another and that children can be very susceptible to their parent’s action, should be made well known throughout our society. The haunting memories of a veteran can create an unstable environment that affects the entire family.