The Wild Man had PTSD

According to John and Caitlin Matthews, often as a consequence of participation in warfare, now and then a person who was most likely to be a grown man would run off into the wilds. Those who saw him flee perceived him as having been profoundly upset and possibly out of his mind. One case of this story has been found in Druidic British traditions as the case of the Wild Man. Eventually, he came back to civilization, no longer crazy from his war trauma. The great joy and hope of this story is that PTSD can be cured, and in many of the cases where it cannot be, it can be greatly reduced.

Prevention

Specialized mental training can prevent the onset of some PTSD. PTSD is best prevented by strong emotional and social support during and especially after the event. The person should talk about it if that is at all possible and should be supported by the others – whomever they are. Getting the event into perspective will help. When the events take place during a deployment they may have to be reviewed, and contextualized for peace time surroundings. In some cases, only cumulative traumatic stress will even put a person at serious risk of developing it. Making sure that help is available is an important step in the healing process.

Treatment

The old therapy of running off into the wilds is not normally available to sufferers today. In some cases modified exposures to reminders with safer outcomes can reduce the affect of the reactions. There are also times when EMDR therapy can be used to treat PTSD. Frequently, talk therapy combined with at least temporary use of a psychoactive medication specific to the problem, and some type of “exposure therapy” will yield best results. Fortunately, for most people who suffer from PTSD, it clears up within six months. For those who cannot be cured, or who take decades to cure, they can still be greatly healed, making the reactions less overwhelming to their personalities and daily lives than it was when it was at its worst.