The Greeks didn’t call it PTSD. But they understood that war brought trauma (from the Greek word meaning “wound”), which left some warriors with a “thousand-yard stare,” a phrase used by Sophocles, long after they returned home. Advocates and the military itself have found that ancient myths and stories like “Ajax” can help veterans and active-duty soldiers cope with the overwhelming psychological stress that the country’s longest war has put on its relatively small volunteer force.
The VA estimates that about 1,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are diagnosed each week with PTSD, and another 800 with depression. Many more of the 2.5 million men and women who have been deployed in the war thus far likely suffer from these psychological conditions but remain undiagnosed, a burden that will persist far beyond the planned troop drawdown from Afghanistan at the end of this year.
Not having a baby-sitter…
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