Painful Challenges Of A Veteran Ptsd Symptoms
Trigger warning: Mention of Sexual Violence
Happy Veterans Day to all who have serviced our great United States of America!
To those who do not know me personally, I am highly patriotic and profoundly love the US of A.
I may disagree with some wartimes and the politics behind them, but I strongly support and respect the men and women who stand up and fight to keep this country safe and free.
Please join me in wishing them thanks for their service and praying for those still serving.
I want to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even though PTSD can affect anyone, I want to focus on military personnel to bring awareness around Veterans Day.
Who is affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a response to a traumatic event like wartime for our veterans and active duty soldiers. It can also be a response by civilians from an accident, someone close to us being killed or hurt, or mental, physical, or sexual abuse.
These events do not always cause PTSD. Sometimes people are affected for a few weeks or months and then return to themselves. PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms last longer or severely affect our daily life.
Some Stats About PTSD and Veterans
These statics are found on the US Department of Veterans Affairs website.
The stats are broken up by war times. These are the percentages of Veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD.
- In Operations Iraqi Freedom, 11-20%
- In Operation Enduring Freedom, 11-20%
- In Gulf War (Desert Storm), 12%
- In Vietnam War, 30%
Wartime is not the only time that Military people experience trauma. During peacetime, many soldiers (men and women) deal with sexual assault or harassment.
- 23% of women reported sexual assault
- 55% of women experienced sexual harassment
- 38% of men experienced sexual harassment
What Are Common Symtoms of PTSD?
We may avoid people, places, or things that remind us of the event. We may also refrain from talking about the event. Some people avoid certain activities like going shopping or to a concert because they do not want to be in a crowd.
For Military people, their events might have involved combat while in a vehicle, so they may not like to be in a car or truck or even driving at all.
Flashbacks or Reliving the Event
Flashbacks are visions or memories that are so intense that we feel like the event is happening for the first time.
I can personally attest that this is my worst symptom of PTSD. Visions can be when I am awake or asleep in the form of a nightmare, and it truly feels like the trauma is happening at that moment.
This symptom (from my feelings) is why I can’t “get over it” because it happens repeatedly. It is like reliving the worst moment of your life on replay whenever it wants to pop up.
Some things that use the five senses can trigger a person with PTSD. We may see a car accident while outside or smell something related to the event that causes us to react in our minds. Sometimes a sound like fireworks will trigger a service person.
Hyperarousal describes when we are on constant alert or very anxious. It can also be associated with having trouble sleeping or concentrating and jumping out of our skin at noises.
Some people who suffer from this symptom may engage in risky or unhealthy habits like drinking and drugs. They may not take their safety into thought, like going out late at night alone or to harmful areas.
Trust issues result from PTSD, not as a symptom, but need to be mentioned. There is a sense that we are alone; if we open up to anyone, they could violate our trust. This includes family and friends, and any new relationships are tough to maintain.
Can a Veteran PTSD Symptoms Improve?
Doctors will say that it is possible! Treatments like talk therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and medication or a combination of all these are available.
Feeling better looks different to everyone. For one person, symptoms might totally disappear. For others, the symptoms may not be so crippling.
I hope that I have brought awareness to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in our military men and women. I express my deepest wish that they would all know that they are loved and supported and genuinely thanked this Veterans Day and every day!
Please comment on this and let me know if you have served! I would love to thank you personally!
Please like and share on social media to show your support and bring as much awareness as possible to PTSD and our veterans!