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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder

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A 78-year-old World War II veteran presented to the VA hospital for complaints related to a possible diagnosis of PTSD. He described being a land-sea transport captain during the invasion of Normandy in 1941 who brought soldiers to Omaha Beach. Many of these soldiers, especially in the initial waves, were killed by gunfire in front of him. He describes still visualizing bodies lapped against his ship by the waves. He describes several symptoms related to this visualization: elevated anxiety and distress, nightmares, poor concentration, irritability, and feelings of being detached or numb. These symptoms have worsened recently as a number of his friends have passed away from illness.

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