What is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

Written by K9 Partners for Patriots

June 19, 2024

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It can affect anyone who has gone through life-threatening situations, severe accidents, natural disasters, military combat, or any form of violence or abuse.

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD manifests through a variety of symptoms that can significantly impact daily life. These symptoms generally fall into four categories:

Intrusive Memories:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event.
  • Flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again.
  • Nightmares about the traumatic event.
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to reminders of the trauma.


  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.
  • Avoiding places, activities, or people that remind one of the traumatic event.

Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood:

  • Negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world.
  • Hopelessness about the future.
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event.
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships.
  • Feeling detached from family and friends.
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed.
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions.

Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions:

  • Being easily startled or frightened.
  • Always being on guard for danger.
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior.
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame.

Causes and Risk Factors

PTSD can develop after a person is exposed to trauma, but not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD. Factors that might increase the risk of PTSD include:

  • Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma.
  • Having experienced other trauma earlier in life, such as childhood abuse.
  • Having a job that increases the risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military personnel and first responders.
  • Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.
  • Lacking a good support system of family and friends.
  • Having blood relatives with mental health problems, including PTSD or depression.

K9 Partners for Patriots: A Holistic Approach

At K9 Partners for Patriots, we understand the profound impact PTSD has on veterans’ lives. Many of our veterans have voiced negative experiences with conventional therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Recognizing the need for alternative solutions, we offer service dogs as a holistic therapy to help manage PTSD symptoms.

Service dogs provide unwavering support and companionship, helping to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD in several ways:

Emotional Support

The constant presence of a service dog offers a sense of safety and security, reducing anxiety and hypervigilance.

Routine and Responsibility

Caring for a service dog instills a sense of purpose and routine, which can be incredibly stabilizing for individuals with PTSD.

Non-Judgmental Companionship

Service dogs offer unconditional love and companionship, helping veterans feel less isolated and more connected.

Grounding and Calming

The tactile interaction with a service dog can help ground individuals during moments of distress, providing a calming effect.


Service dogs can act as social bridges, making it easier for veterans to engage with others and re-integrate into their communities.

Through the unique bond between veterans and their service dogs, we aim to foster healing, hope, and a path forward. Our mission at K9 Partners for Patriots is to support veterans battling PTSD by providing them with specially trained service dogs, empowering them to lead fuller, more independent lives.

If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD, reach out to us. Support is available, and recovery is possible. Together, we can overcome the challenges of PTSD and build a brighter future.

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