Mental health can be a very sensitive topic for those who live with it but is something that needs to be better understood and recognized, especially in the military community. Veterans and those who have experienced combat are more susceptible to various disorders. However, despite being closely linked to military veterans, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in particular can affect anyone following a traumatic event.
Annually acknowledged on June 27th, National PTSD Awareness Day, organizations that work with employees, consumers, and patients at risk for the condition work to get information about symptoms and treatments for PTSD out to the public in hopes that if more people understand the disease then more people who suffer from it will get treatment.
Combat PTSD and non-combat PTSD are the same disease but with different experiences and challenges associated with them. Non-combat, otherwise known as civilian PTSD can be caused from a wide array of events including but not limited to; car accidents, kidnapping, imprisonment, witnessing violence or death, and physical or mental abuse. Combat PTSD on the other hand is often caused by events that may have happened during combat such as an enemy ambush, IED event in Iraq, and witnessing a plane crash or another service-member being killed. Do not be fooled though, not everyone who experiences these events will develop PTSD, “the nature of the trauma and an individual’s biology, environment, and life history combine to predispose an individual to PTSD;” it truly varies from person to person.
Those who live with PTSD often experience difficulties performing routine tasks in addition to having recurring flashbacks of the trauma, depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, feeling stripped of their sense of safety, and often feel disconnected from loved ones. Confronting and talking about the trauma is unimaginably difficult but is a key step in receiving much needed help. Treatment options vary depending on the person and severity of the symptoms and trauma. The most common treatment options include Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) which teaches the patient to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations that they may have been avoiding. Additionally, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is another method of treatment that helps patients process their traumatic memories. Although treatment is highly recommended, PTSD can last years, sometimes even a lifetime, but by seeking out therapy and other treatment options, it will helps cope with the daily struggles associated with it.
Recognizing the symptoms associated with PTSD is the first step in getting help. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with PTSD or other mental issues, do not wait to get help; PTSD is extremely difficult to live with and can have negative effects if left untreated.
PTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and Families:
- All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA Clinics.
- Search for a medical center near you that specializes in PTSD care: va.gov/directory/guide/PTSD.asp
- DoD’s Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury. Call 1-866-966-1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Veteran Combat Call Center is a 24/7 resource where you can talk to another combat veteran. Call 1-877-927-8387
PTSD Care for Everyone
- Therapist near you. Find Information, phone numbers and websites to help locate therapy care for PTSD.
Cronk, Terri (June 27, 2015). “DoD Observes National PTSD Awareness Day”. DoD News. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
Gay, Natalie. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Civilians.” Anxiety.com. 25 May 2017. anxiety.org/ptsd-non-veteran-ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-civilians
Lyon, Kim. “Top 10 PTSD Blogs of 2014.” PsychCentral. 2014. psychcentral.com/blog/top-ptsd-blogs-of-2014/
“Non-Combat PTSD.” Faces of PTSD. 2015. facesofptsd.com/non-combat-ptsd/
“PTSD: National Center for PTSD.” U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. 2018. ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp
“What Combat and Non-Combat Events Qualify for PTSD Stressors?” Woods and Woods, LLP. 2018. woodslawyers.com/ptsd-stressors/