Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
We usually think of war injuries as being physical, although one of the most common war injuries is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the effects can be devastating. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an emotional illness classified as an anxiety disorder and usually develops because of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe event, often experienced in combat. Although this condition has likely existed since humans have endured trauma, PTSD has only been recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980 and statistics regarding this illness indicate that approximately 7%-8% of people in the United States will likely develop PTSD in their lifetime, with the lifetime occurrence in combat veterans ranging from 10% to as high as 30%. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can effect a soldier in many ways; both mentally and physically and it can have a profound effect on their lives and others around them.
Although the symptoms and degrees of severity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may differ from case to case, the effect can still be life altering. The symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may occur immediately following a traumatic experience, weeks, months or even years later. PTSD can disrupt a soldiers functioning, interfering with their ability to meet daily needs and perform the most basic tasks. Symptoms of PTSD can include but are not limited to flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time. Shame or guilt, upsetting dreams about the event, trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, feeling emotionally numb, irritability or anger. Furthermore, poor relationships, self-destructive behavior, hopelessness about the future, trouble sleeping, memory problems, trouble concentrating, not enjoying activities they once enjoyed, and hearing or seeing things that are not there. Chief complaints in patients diagnosed with PTSD include two major symptoms: anxiety, which causes an abnormal reaction to loud noises and difficulty sleeping due to repeated nightmares.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can have a devastating effect on a soldier’s personal, social and professional life. Soldiers who suffer from PTSD can relive the life-threatening experiences they have suffered with visual, auditory and/or somatic reality, reacting in mind and body as though the events were still occurring. These soldiers tend to avoid places, people, things that remind them of the event, and are highly sensitive to normal life experiences. Soldiers who are involved in a traumatic event may have a difficult time adjusting. A soldier may experience the inability to experience pleasure, isolation, and a reduced interest in activities. In many cases, however, the symptoms can get progressively worse, sometimes, even completely disrupting one's life.
A soldier can develop and show signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that may cause behavioral...