How to Watch for Signs of Trauma in a Combat Veteran

How to Watch for Signs of Trauma in a Combat Veteran

Knowing the warning signs of the condition along with treatment options available can help give you hope

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms can start within months of a traumatic experience and on other occasions may not appear until years after the initial event. These symptoms can cause significant issues in both social and work environments along with relationships. PTSD symptoms are typically grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.[1]

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time and each individual can experience a different severity in symptoms as well. It’s common for an individual to exhibit more PTSD symptoms when she becomes stressed in general or when she comes into contact with reminders of what she has experienced, or what initiated the PTSD. For example, a combat veteran may hear a car backfire and relive a combat experience. Knowing what signs to look for can help you learn how to communicate and show support for your loved one suffering with PTSD.

The Warning Signs of PTSD

PTSD can affect your whole family, from your children to your partner. They may not understand how or why you get angry so fast and they may feel guilty and scared about your condition. Despite how hard you try to control, mask or ignore the symptoms they can worsen and even lead to more severe complications. Although each combat veteran can experience an array of side effects in varying levels of severity there are common signs and symptoms of PTSD include the following: [2]

  • Recurring memories or flashbacks of events that bring guilt and shame
  • Feeling on edge with sleeplessness and loss of interest
  • Feeling numb
  • Stress and anxiety, which brings on anger and rage
  • Irritability

Each person reacts differently, however, the re-experiencing of the traumatic event combined with increasing anxiety and frustrations, anger and rage are also extremely common symptoms of PTSD. Although these symptoms may not surface for many months, they can also come and go. However, if these symptoms continue and don’t go away, chances are either you or your loved one is suffering with PTSD. Luckily, today there are good treatments available for PTSD. When you are suffering with PTSD, dealing with the past can be difficult. Instead of telling others how you feel, you often keep your feelings bottled up. However, talking with a therapist can help you get better. Included in the following are some examples of available options for the treatment of PTSD:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Exposure Therapy
  • EMDR
  • Medication
  • Therapy

It is extremely common to have PTSD at the same time as another mental health problem. Depression, alcohol or drug abuse problems along with anxiety disorders often occur simultaneously with PTSD. In most cases, the PTSD treatments alone will also help with the treatment of the other disorders. When you begin treatment, you along with your therapist will decide the best treatment approach you need to help reach your goals. These will typically include techniques on how to reduce your PTSD symptoms, learning the best way to live and cope with your symptoms, and learn how to effectively cope with other issues associated with PTSD, such as feeling less guilt or sadness, improving relationships both at work and personally, and learning to communicate with those you care about.

At the beginning of treatment, you and your therapist will decide on the plan that makes the most sense for you as well as have a plan if at some point throughout treatment it appears that the original course of treatment is not working.  It is important that you feel comfortable with your therapist and feel as though you are working as a team to tackle your problems. Because you may feel alone and have kept numerous feelings and emotions to yourself, opening up and discussing the painful situations in your life or the past traumatic experiences that you’ve had can be difficult. Discussing these emotions and memories can help you learn how to work through the emotions without it affecting your life.

PTSD Treatment

If you or someone you know and love is showing the warning signs of PTSD and it is slowly starting to negatively impact her life, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly trained and professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your addiction questions and help you find the best treatment available. It only takes one call to save a life, so call us today!

[1], Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Mayo Clinic Staff, 02/05/2016, 04/15, 2014.

[2], Signs and Symptoms of PTSD, Pat Buckley, 02/07/2016.

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