Veteran and wife at a counseling session

PTSD and Mental Health

Soldiers returning from the trenches of WWI were diagnosed with shell shock; today, the condition is more commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. 

In 2013, RSL Queensland partnered with the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) to pioneer ground-breaking research into PTSD. The PTSD Initiative examined the long-term psychological and physical effects of PTSD in a sample of 300 Vietnam veterans.

Key findings

The PTSD Initiative found there were a number of physical health outcomes that accompanied the psychological symptoms of the disorder. Veterans who suffered from PTSD were also:
  • four times as likely to have a heart attack
  • at increased risk of heart disease
  • twice as likely to have sleep apnoea
  • twice as likely to have restless legs syndrome
  • three times as likely to act out dreams while asleep
  • twice as likely to have stomach ulcers
  • at increased risk of bowel disorders.

Online education module

As a result of the study, an online education resource has been developed to help GPs better identify the signs and symptoms of PTSD. The education module is available on ThinkGP.