SAN DIEGO, May 27, 2014 — Post-traumatic stress disorder is a human response to experiencing a highly traumatic event.
PTSD has many root causes which include genetic predisposition, hormones and temperament, experiencing sexual assault, physical attack, a life-threatening event, natural disaster, accident or other life-altering events.
Many members of the military experience PTSD, especially those who engaged in active combat.
PTSD may not be properly diagnosed for decades following active service and can go completely undetected, and occur at any time throughout a lifetime if left untreated.
Reports from the National Vietnam Veteran’s Study conducted in the 1980’s indicated that 15% of male Veterans had PTSD at the time of the study.
What was shocking was that during a follow-up study conducted in 2003, it was discovered that 4 out of 5 Vietnam-era Veterans exhibited PTSD symptoms 20-25 years later.
According to a 2013 Congressional analysis, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Problems in the Military: Oversight Issues for Congress,” it was reported that “the 2009 post-traumatic stress disorder incidence rate of 9.2 per 1,000 person-years and a prevalence rate of 1.9% among all service members of the active component…”
The report further indicated that those branches of the military with the highest rates of PTSD are the Army and the Marines–likely due to higher incidents of direct combat and other traumatic exposures than experienced by those in the Air Force or Navy.
Further, in a Veteran’s Administration study sourced by the Congressional research report, it was estimated that 18% to 20%of servicepersons engaged in combat while in Iraq or Afghanistan were likely to have PTSD.
The Mayo Clinic offers criteria for evaluating the prevalence of PTSD:
-Experience of a traumatic event
-Witnessing another person experiencing a traumatic event
-Discovering a significant other was threatened by a traumatic event
-Repeated exposure to graphic details of a traumatic event (for example, a first-responder)
Reliving a traumatic event, and experiencing itlonger than a few days or weeks, could be indicative of PTSD–especially if the emotions are intense and flashbacks of the event persist.
Common symptoms experienced by those with PTSD, and possibly noticed by family or friends may include:
-Feelings of mistrust
For additional information about the signs and symptoms of PTSD, contact www.helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm.
Michigan State University offers a self-assessment tool which might help a serviceperson to privately determine the likelihood of having PTSD on its website at www.counseling.msu.edu/resource/ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-line-self-assessment.
The Military Crisis Line is an excellent resource for active or retired service persons to access resources, referrals and help for themselves and their families:
In the U.S.: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
In Europe: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118*
In Korea: 0808 555 118 or DSN 118
The ability to detect PTSD early and seek treatment options from qualified health care practitioners who have a specialty in treating PTSD is critical in the outcome and quality of life of the serviceperson and their family.
The National Center for PTSD provides invaluable resources for seeking treatment, while providing information about other supports at www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp.
United States Veterans deserve the highest respect and utmost consideration.
By choosing to place themselves in harm’s way while in defense of this Country, they have earned the right to compassion, support and treatments to enable them to reenter civilian life as physically healthy, emotionally sound and spiritually whole people.
“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.” – Susan Pease Banitt
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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