The word contagious is often linked with the flu, a cold, yawns, or even a really nice smile. It has been proven why the items mentioned above are contagious through scientific studies. With that being said, the proposition that a psychiatric disorder such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be contagious seems unlikely. Mac McClelland’s article, Is PTSD Contagious?, rightly claims that PTSD is indeed contagious using examples of different families suffering from the disorder.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers come back from war with PTSD. The disorder is different for each and every person. PTSD patients can suffer from depression, anxiety, high levels of stress, hightened sensitivity to sound and light, frequent nightmares, and more. While the veteran struggles to try to return to everyday life with such symptoms, their families are trying even harder to take care of them both emotionally and financially. Plenty of times, the family of a PTSD sufferer will have such sympathy towards the person that they feel the effects of it too. In the case of Caleb Vines, his wife, Brannan, has symptoms quite similar to her husband. They hope that their daughter, Katie, does not “catch” it as well. Brannan seems to have the same symptoms because of the stress of caring for Caleb, and also the sympathy she feels towards his ever-lasting struggle.
This idea of contagious PTSD is happening in so many families of veterans. Now that it is more and more present, veterans’ associations are attempting to do more for the families of victims of PTSD. The trauma that causes the PTSD does not have to be lived by someone, it can simply be felt by someone in order to have an effect on them. More needs to be done to protect returning soldiers, and now their families from living with such horrible symptoms.