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History of Ptsd
Post-traumatic stress disorder has a long history. Moses directed the commanders of the returning Hebrew warriors to encamp the army outside the Hebrew camp for the required ...

History of PTSD

Frank Vozenilek, Viet Nam veteran, Point Man International Ministries

Post-traumatic stress disorder has a long history. Moses directed the commanders of the returning Hebrew warriors to encamp the army outside the Hebrew camp for the required cleansing period of seven days (Numbers 31:19). He also directed those who had slain or come in contact with a dead body to purify themselves according to the Hebrew laws on the third and again on the seventh days. Only then could these soldiers who had seen and tasted battle be allowed into the camp amongst their families once again.

Why? Not only because of the blood-borne disease they potentially came in contact with but, according to Jewish rabbinical clarification, it was because of the mental and emotional anguish the army had been put through in combat. God knew and knows the emotional pain soldiers feel when they see a comrade cut down before their eyes, or when they, who have been raised to respect human life, are now in a position to take life. These events traumatize the emotions and the psyche of the human being. God, in his wisdom, set forth the purification laws to counteract these traumas.

Now fast forward to American military history. In the Civil War, the condition Soldier’s Heart was recorded as shock-like symptoms along with mental and emotional symptoms. In World War I it was called shell shock. In World War II and Korea the problem was known as battle fatigue, and in Vietnam, combat stress. PTSD was finally recognized as a mental/anxiety disorder 1984.

Those with PTSD have severe problems trusting anyone and sharing that they have PTSD (if they even recognize it). But church laypeople can be trained to identify the outward displays and the internal feelings of a combat veteran. This basic training can be enough to help identify the problems:

  • Get prayer support
  • Make referrals to support systems
  • Be able to support as a concerned layperson within the community.

Prayer:

Lord, make me more sensitive to the needs of returning veterans and their families; show me how to support them.


Other Items In The Battlefields and Blessings Series

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