Talking about PTSD

Written by Hospital Commander on 4/25/2012 2:46:18 PM | 0 Comments
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Let’s talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It’s a topic many do not like to discuss, but it needs to be brought to the forefront of our minds.

PTSD is now a well-known term, but it’s still a relatively new name for a very old disorder that has afflicted Soldiers in every war and many, many people who have not known war but have experienced various traumas (physical, psychological, emotional, etc.). In other wars, it is lumped with “nervous in the service,” 1000-yard stare, or combat fatigue. Despite negative connotations, these are all Wounds of War. All are visited upon Soldiers who have stood to defend the Nation. We now know, and Soldiers are acknowledging that these are wounds from which we can recover.

PTSD is not something to be taken lightly. We hear the term often in the news or throughout the community. Many of you may suffer from this, and probably even more of you simply know someone who suffers from this.

There can be much confusion surrounding PTSD. As you are most likely aware, PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after seeing or experiencing a traumatic event, normally that involved injury or death. It can occur at any age, to any gender, or to any race. The exact cause of PTSD is unknown. Psychological, genetic, physical and social factors are involved, however. The body’s response to stress is changed by PTSD, and it affects the hormones and chemicals that carry information between the nerves.

Also, it is not known why traumatic events cause PTSD in some people, but not others.

The symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories: Reliving the event, avoidance, and arousal.

Reliving the event can disturb day-to-day activity, including flashback episodes, repeated upsetting memories or nightmares, or strong reactions to things that remind you of the event. Avoidance can be described as a “numb” feeling or feeling as if you don’t care about anything, feeling detached or showing less of your moods. Finally, arousal can be described as difficulty concentrating, startling easily, feeling irritable or having trouble falling asleep. Some people also suffer from “survivor’s guilt” or guilt about the event in general.

Treatment options for PTSD will vary depending on the individual and the situation. Rest assured that Army Medicine is here for you and your Families every day to help deal with illnesses such as PTSD.