- Mental Health
PTSD Symptoms, Treatment
The PTSD Foundation of America reports statistics that state one in three troops that are returning from Afghanistan or battle in the middle east will have PTSD, and the sad part is that only 40 percent will seek help. The sad daily statistics state that an average of five soldiers will attempt suicide daily.
According to the foundation the definition of PTSD is: "PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood."
The percentage of people that will experience PTSD at some point in their life is 7.8, and this includes men and women.
It not the PTSD that causes the suicide, but it is the depression. According to a new VA study, there is an average of 20 veterans committing suicide each day. As of 2014, 7,400 veterans took their own lives.
In addition, two out of three marriages are failing, which equals 200,000 military marriages. Homeless veterans are also increasing. Male veterans report more problems in marriages, relationships and parenting.
This is so tragic, that words fail me. These men have served their country, like so many generations before them, so we can be free and enjoy our way of life.
Some Causes of PTSD
PTSD can occur when a person has been in a position to kill others, see friends killed or been the victim of abuse or traumatic crimes, such as rape. The two components that cause PTSD are having survived an extremely stressful situation, and reacted with an intense emotional reaction.
PTSD can have a life of its own, which differentiates in from anxiety disorders. Many suffer from “survivor’s guilt.” The symptoms include, at least briefly, a time where the individual believes that she or he is back in the middle of the trauma. Nightmares are common and sometimes the person is unable to focus on what is being said to them.
Common PTSD Symptoms
Other common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Difficulty with concentration
- Apathy or lack of interest
- Feelings of detachment
- Loss of appetite
- Exaggerated startle response
- Sleep disturbance ( lack of sleep or oversleeping)
PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Treatment for PTSD
The most powerful treatment for PTSD is not medication, but cognitive behavioral treatments. Treatment can be difficult and sometimes prolonged.
- In cognitive Exposure Therapy, prolonged exposure is one such treatment where the individual is re-exposed to the trauma, but in a safe setting in a therapist’s office.
- Cognitive-Processing Therapy (CPT) is typically lasts 12 weeks and is combination of cognitive therapy and exposure therapy.
- Stress-Inoculation Training (SIT) is to help a patient gain confidence to gain confidence to be able to cope with their anxiety and fear. Each of these cognitive therapies have been shown to help people with PYSD.
Another strategy is psychic numbing, which is supposed to shut down the emotional capacity to the person cannot feel upset, terrified or afraid. Unfortunately, this also shuts down the capacity to feel love, pleasure and that is why some marriages fail.
Therapy Using Dogs
The government is not doing enough for these men, but fortunately there are several organizations that are working to make a difference. One of the newer organizations is approaching the problem a bit differently. They use animals, specifically dogs, to help vets suffering from PTSD.
This group has a staff of men and women from numerous backgrounds, but they all share a love of animals. They train these dogs to sense the mood of their owner and respond appropriately. When a soldier is sinking into depression, the dog will jump up and lick their face just get close to them.
I saw two of the soldiers that had suffered through a very difficult time with PTSD; one had even turned to drugs. They each had a different type of dog and talked about the big difference the dog had made in their lives. One stated, “He gets me out of the house to go for a walk, and that cheers me up. He is always happy to see me, wagging his tails and being by my side.”
This organization teaches the dog owners how to properly care for their pets, and they have already seen a change in many of the owners. They will talk to any vet that calls them with the purpose of saving lives and helping. This organization needs funds as all of them do to continuing doing their good work.
Service Dog Helps Veteran with PTSD
Organizations to help
There are organizations that are attempting to help. Contact your health care professional. There is a National Center for PTSD, and check out the Vet Center Readjustment services. Call the Vietnam Vets, VFW or American Legion for soldier support. The Wounded Warrior Project and the Disabled American Veterans are other organizations that work hard to help vets. The main point is to get help if you have PTSD symptoms.
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.