Review by Nomvuyo Dlamini

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Fallacy by Nattanya Andersen is a shocking revelation of the inadequacies and failures of the American healthcare system when it comes to treating post-traumatic stress disorder. As a flight attendant, the author went through quite a few life-threatening events that resulted in her being troubled by recurrent PTSD. Through her own experiences after being diagnosed with recurrent PTSD, the author recollects and challenges every step of the treatment that was offered to her during this time. The author builds from her previous work, Broken Wings, which was the first book that she wrote in the process of healing from recurrent PTSD.

Everything about PTSD from the definition to the screening tool and the DSM diagnostic criteria along with all the existing treatment modalities of PTSD are called into question. The author uses her personal experience to present a well-researched book. Existential depression in gifted individuals by James T Webb is a frequent source of inspiration for the author because according to her, gifted individuals and PTSD afflicted people have a lot in common. Those with higher intellectual ability are more likely to experience existential depression. The author argues that PTSD is not a psychiatric disorder, it is an existential crisis that can either result in a positive disintegration experience or spontaneous existential depression. 

If we must die, if we build our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have? This is the heavy burden that the people afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder must grapple with in order to live, in order to ascend from a lower level of egocentric human existence to a more altruistic way of living. I really appreciated the author’s candid and well-spoken argument in every chapter of this book. Her account of what has happened to her in the past two decades of her life just goes to show the tenacity of her soul. 

As someone who is a health care provider herself, I am also well aware of the inadequacies of our healthcare systems. I believe that all branches of health care are moving away from the older systems to use patient-centered care where the patient is more involved in their treatment. Through informed consent patients can have a much more active role in their own treatment. This book is a wake-up call to health care providers everywhere. I do not agree with everything presented in this book and would love to have a conversation with the author about it. That in itself goes to show how engaging the material is.

I believe the anger from the author and the harsh words she uses to criticize the healthcare community and other organizations involved in her care should be taken seriously. I hope that anyone who reads this book takes a chance to appreciate Andersen for not only going through such trials but for being brave enough to write them all down for all of us to read. I rate this book three out of four stars because it was well researched and presented in a captivating way. I would recommend this book to people who suffer from PTSD, those who know people afflicted with PTSD and all health care workers who are in general.