Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been a malady of veterans in every war that has been fought. Up to a certain point (until 1980) it wasn’t known by the same name, but it existed. With more veterans of the current wars and varying theaters across the globe experiencing battle and then being discharged back into society, there is nothing available to stop PTSD, but the medical community has made strides with the treatment options for the disorder.

The Department of Veterans Affairs describes sufferers of PTSD as often reliving the life-threatening or extremely violent events they have seen through nightmares and flashbacks. Other symptoms may include feeling detached from things happening around him or her, or sleeplessness.

Often Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed while appearing as part of or simultaneously with other problems such as substance abuse or depression. Difficulty with memory may or may not be manifest. It usually ends up touching all areas of life, causing problems on the home front and with the job.

If the disorder is not treated, or becomes chronic without treatment, it may last a lifetime and be severe, or it may offer some remission periods. No matter what stage a veteran seems to be in, however, or the severity, a doctor needs to be part of the decisions concerning how to deal with the PTSD.

Also according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veterans who spent time in combat and suffer PTSD is nearly 30 percent. What is perhaps more startling is that 20 to 25 percent additional veterans have dealt with some milder form of the disorder. It is reported that more than half of Vietnam veterans have suffered some sort of stress related problems, and it is also noticeable with veterans of the more recent Gulf War.

Recognizing the symptoms and what to watch for behaviorally will be very beneficial for family members of the newest generation of future veterans. It may become noticeable rather quickly, or it may wait for years to appear. That is one of the reasons why it is rather difficult to diagnose; it reacts differently in different people.

Although there is no permanent “cure,” treatment options for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder include various forms of drug therapy and also psychotherapy. The same treatment doesn’t work for every case, so a doctor will most likely try a combination of treatments to see which the better choice is for any give patient. PTST can be managed and the first vital step is finding medical help so that treatment can begin.

New studies suggest that cognitive-behavioral therapy (changes in behavior, thoughts, and emotions), as well as group and exposure therapies are effective in many sufferers. There are various aspects to these kinds of therapies, so it is highly recommended to discuss the options with a physician. If your primary care provider is not up to date on the treatments or not especially familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is essential for a veteran to find a doctor who knows about these treatments.

Be proactive about things concerning PTSD. Talk about it to others who may be going through the same emotions and dealing with the same daily problems. Read all you can about it and how to keep it managed. If a doctor has put you on some kind of medication therapy, be sure to stick with it and give it time to work.

There are also a few things to be sure not to do. These would include not trying to ignore what is going on if you feel something isn’t right. Don’t try to hide what is happening from your family or your medical provider. Do not give up and do not turn to alcohol or drugs.

Although this article focuses on veterans, others can suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well. It can become a problem for anyone seeing a violent event, or being part of one. Police officers often have a problem with this kind of stress disorder. Emergency workers and sexual abuse victims may hear a diagnosis of PTSD as well those having been through a natural disaster. If something traumatic has happened in life, no one is exempt from being susceptible.

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