RSL Employee talking to a veteran and spouse

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.

 

Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation logo

 

PTSD Initiative research logo