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PTSD in Military Service Members

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the military are often linked, according to the book “Very Well Mind“. Even though PTSD was not an official diagnosis until the 1980s, it was commonly thought that there was a link between active combat trauma and the effect it had on the minds and bodies of those involved. Other terms used were “combat fatigue”, “shell shock”, and “war neurosis”. Both active military and veterans who have experienced trauma can suffer from PTSD. However, not everyone who experiences trauma will get PTSD. According to Dr. Matthew Tull, PhD in an article written for Very Well Mind, certain factors make people more vulnerable:

  • Type of trauma
  • Emotional response during the trauma
  • Mental or physical health
  • Marital Status
  • Gender (studies have shown women are twice as likely to have PTSD)
  • Support system
  • Age
  • Post-trauma stressors

Indicators of PTSD

According to the DSM-5, which is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are several indicators of PTSD, which include:

  • Re-experiencing the event. This can happen through memories, dreams, or reminders of the event. The result can be flashbacks, feelings of distress, and recurrent nightmares.
  • Avoidance. This is when the person does everything possible to avoid any reminders of the event. It can mean avoiding certain people, places, or events. It can also mean staying constantly busy so as not to have time to think about the event.
  • Hyperarousal. Hyperarousal manifests itself in a variety of ways, including irritability, being easily startled, constantly on guard, lack of concentration, inability to focus, angry outbursts, and sleeplessness.
  • Negative Thoughts and Beliefs. This includes a loss of interest in things once enjoyed, difficulty feeling happiness or love, feeling distant from others, feeling as though your life will be cut short.

A diagnosis of PTSD need not include all of the above symptoms. One only needs a certain number of symptoms from each category. If you believe you or someone you love might be experiencing PTSD, regardless of military service, it is important to seek the help of a professional counselor. Counselors who are trained in practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-informed therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help people with PTSD calm their minds and bodies and regain a sense of peace. Please reach out to Lifeologie Counseling Raleigh for a free consultation. Our counseling group has several therapists who are accepting new client appointments and are trained in evidence-based practices, such as EMDR, that can and will help you feel better right away!

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