How PTSD Can Harm Veterans

How PTSD Can Harm Veterans

Many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a psychological disorder that anyone who has suffered a traumatic experience is susceptible to, although we most commonly associate the condition with soldiers. PTSD can be difficult for both veterans and their loved ones. Not only is this disorder challenging to deal with, but it can also be difficult for many to understand.

PTSD can affect every level of a veteran’s life and destroy all of their important relationships if it goes untreated.

Symptom Groups Of PTSD

PTSD manifests differently for everyone. There is no single set of symptoms that are universal for all those who struggle with PTSD. However, symptoms can generally be bunched together into four different symptom groups.

Withdrawal

In this symptom group, people with PTSD attempt to distance themselves from the traumatic event responsible for their condition. They will go to great lengths to avoid anything that reminds them of the event. This avoidance can include people, places, or situations that bring up thoughts of the situation. Many people dealing with PTSD of this type will pull back from family and friends and lose interest in everyday activities.

People suffering from withdrawal symptoms retreat within themselves. It can be very challenging for loved ones to try to find a way behind the barricades put up by these PTSD victims.

Negativity

People dealing with this manifestation of PTSD often find it difficult to experience positive emotions. In severe cases, they are completely incapable of feeling anything remotely good. They have an incredibly negative outlook regarding themselves and the rest of the world. They are often plagued by feelings of fear, shame, and guilt.

Looped

When dealing with these types of symptoms, people find that they are currently back in the traumatic event. They suffer from frequent nightmares and flashbacks to the event, replaying it in their mind and believing it is currently occurring. When they are aware that the event is in the past rather than ongoing, they are still often plagued by thoughts of the event.

Panic attacks and other physical reactions are common for people who loop through the traumatic event in their minds.

Vigilant

People dealing with these symptoms don’t feel like they are back in the traumatic event. However, they are constantly on alert for another one. These people are prone to anger, irritability, and reckless behavior. They find it difficult to relax and let their guard down, as it feels like danger is around every corner. They often have difficulty concentrating and struggle to get proper sleep due to the fact that they are always on edge.

Difficulty With Everyday Life

All of these different symptom groups can make everyday life very difficult. People suffering from PTSD often have troubles in every area of life. They frequently struggle to keep a job and find great difficulty in having healthy relationships with loved ones. Without treatment, people dealing with PTSD are very likely to end up in very challenging life situations.

Getting Treatment

Getting treatment is essential for those who are suffering from PTSD. If you were in the armed services and are suffering any of the symptoms listed above see if you qualify for Veterans’ benefits. Getting proper treatment can help get your life back on track.

Unfortunately, it can often take a while to get the necessary counseling needed when going through the VA. There is usually a long wait time for VA services. If you have the means to afford outside counseling, this is a great option to take, but sadly, many vets can not afford these counseling services.

Tools For Self Healing

When suffering from PTSD, there are many things that you can do to help improve your situation. Whether you are receiving professional treatment for your condition or waiting for the VA to handle your case, there are options that you can take on your own.

Personal Connections

Finding someone to talk to is essential. Even if you don’t talk. While therapy is an ideal way to deal with PTSD, whether you are in therapy or not, it is important to have a personal connection with someone supportive. They don’t have to understand exactly what you are going through. They just have to make themselves present for whatever form your need for support takes.

Exercise

One of the greatest ways to deal with any form of mental distress is through physical activity. The mind and the body are strongly connected. Putting your focus on your body can help you to center yourself and take you away from the distress of your mind. Exercise also releases endorphins, which will improve your mood. The adrenaline released through exercise can help with your sleep and reduce the built-up nervous energy you may be feeling.

Take Care Of Yourself

While exercise can be a great part of this, there are many other things that you can do to take care of your well being, including:

  • Eating healthy
  • Taking steps to get enough sleep
  • Finding times to relax
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol

It Takes Time

There are many other things you can do to help yourself deal with the difficulties of PTSD. However, one of the most important things to remember is that there are no quick fixes. Healing from PTSD and getting your life back on track takes time. Be patient with yourself and ask your loved ones to be patient with you as well, as you try to recover from your traumatic experience.