Veterans Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A person who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has experienced a severe trauma or a life threatening event. After the event, a person may develop post traumatic stress. Veterans sometimes don’t feel the need to talk about their issues in fear that no one will understand. Distancing themselves from family and friends and self medicating with alcohol and drugs are common symptoms of PTSD.

Other symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Reliving the event or having flashbacks
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling numb or distant
  • Impulsive or self-destructive behavior
  • Problems with your family or friends
  • Paranoia

If your symptoms last longer than one month, causes you great distress, or disrupt your work or home life, you probably have PTSD.

Help is out there. There are many resources available such as service dogs, VA services, hotlines, websites, focus groups, and many others.

Just before I applied for disability, I started law school. By that time I had my PTSD under control through anti-depressants, avoiding cetera in topics on TV and radio, limiting my drinking and going to a pet store when I sensed a breakdown instead of a bar.” -Veteran

PTSD and suicide are still prevalent among service members today. Mostly among those who have been to war. There is one 1 suicide every 65 minutes. One suicide is one that could have been prevented. If you notice a buddy displaying signs of suicidal behavior, get them help before it is to late. Some symptoms can occur immediately after the incident or years later.

Symptoms include:

  • Giving away belongings
  • Suddenly changing behavior, especially calmness after a period of anxiety
  • Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Arranging ways to take their own life (Buying a gun or large amount of pills)
  • Pulling away from friends or not wanting to go out

An Army SGM, now 48, attempted suicide twice when he saw no way out from his anxiety and depression. He put a bullet in his revolver and pulled the trigger. The chamber was empty. The shock scared him, making him come to his senses. The second time, he closed his garage and kept the engine running before he realized how much he had to live for. He banged on a friends door at 1 a.m. and asked for help. His friend escorted him to a chaplain, then a suicide prevention officer. He said, “What I found helpful to me was, if someone takes you seriously and takes the time to listen to what’s going on with you”.

If you know of anyone that is having suicidal ideations, have them call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Additional Resources:

“The Huffington Post”– David wood

“CNN“- Moni Basu

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