In the long term, PTSD tends to be self-correcting, because we wouldn't be here today if our distant ancestors had huddled into balls and waited to die the first time a wolf tried to eat them. But 20 percent of traumatized people end up with long-term PTSD, and an inordinate number of them are soldiers. Unlike other traumatic experiences, soldiering produces mixed emotions. Unless the car that put you in a wheelchair for a year was driven by your future spouse, you generally simply want to put traumatic events behind you. But soldiers are usually proud of what they do, and they make good friends while they do it. So you have some of the best moments of your life melded with some of the worst; it's not as simple as "moving on."
Oh, and I should point out that soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are less likely to commit suicide than soldiers who never deployed. This is because, and this might shock you, the army tends to not deploy unstable people into stressful, gunfire-filled situations. (And the overall suicide rate for soldiers, while tragic, is generally no higher than the national average.) The real PTSD warning signs are pre-existing mental conditions, past trauma, being less educated, and having a vagina -- women tend to be more susceptible than men.
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They get to deal with more causes than gunfire.
So then why are violent, suicidal, male veterans such a cliche? Most of the sociopathic villains in the FX drama Justified are veterans, as are many of the violent bikers in Sons Of Anarchy. Even freaking Happy Tree Friends features Flippy, the soldier character who, wait for it, violently flips out at the slightest provocation. I could go on, but others already have. If you need a character to be ridiculously violent and emotionally unstable, then slap a service badge on him and call it a day.
"Come on. Fuck it, man. Let's go
bowling to much-needed therapy sessions."
So in some cases, PTSD is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We think soldiers with it are dangerous, so we don't interact with them and invent creative ways to legally avoid hiring them. Then, shockingly, they start to believe that they're worthless and will never recover (even though the research says otherwise). And then some of them kill themselves and we treat it as a mysterious tragedy. Well, it doesn't seem that mysterious to me. We go from treating them as heroes to treating them as ticking time bombs.