ABOUT POST TRAUMATIC STRESS
Post-traumatic Stress is a normal and predictable response to overwhelming, uncontrollable, potentially life-threating events including war zone duty, natural disasters, physical or sexual abuse or terrible accidents.
War Trauma Focus Group
Although a single instance of overwhelming terror can alter the chemistry of the brain, making people more sensitive to adrenaline surges even decades later, developing PTSD from one incident is rare. But if trauma happens over and over, even if each event is not catastrophic, a person is likely to get PTSD. The brain and the body do not get to rest and recuperate between times of high alert and terror such as in a war zone. Hypervigilance becomes a constant, even when no danger is actually present. Hypervigilance alone makes life unpleasant and sometimes terrible, constantly holding ready for the disaster that is around every corner. Hypervigilance alone can cause other problems as every nerve, every synapse, every muscle, uses all the energy a body can produce.
Because of the constant state of arousal, anger comes easily and without warning, and the ringing of the telephone causes you to jump out of your skin. You can’t fall asleep, if you do, you can’t stay asleep. Even if you sleep you can’t rest. You are tense all the time, even if you hide it from others. All your energy goes to staying alert, and you are preoccupied with keeping flashbacks at bay--- all the while trying to maintain a reasonable facade.
Dr. Reid Lyons, a Vietnam Combat veteran with PTSD and is one of the nation’s foremost research scholars in the field of the neurobiology of PTSD
Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter waging war on PTSD
Staff Sgt. Ty Carter has two words for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, “get help”.
Carter developed post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD after his experiences at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, where he said every day was “like the Wild Wild West.” Fire fights were a constant, and October 3, 2009 conditions escalated to the extreme when more than 300 anti-Afgan forces attempted to overrun the outpost of 53 soldiers of Black Night Troop. Eventually the soldiers of Black Night Troop beat back the attack, but at a devastating price: eight dead 25 wounded.
Despite his many heroic actions during battle, Cater was haunted by the fact that he wasn’t able to save his friend, Spc. Stephen Mace. He no longer felt equipped to save a life and he felt like a failure, “I lost faith in who I was and what I was doing.”
At first he resisted getting treatment for PTSD, and had a misconception about the condition. It isn’t really a disorder, Carter pointed out, it is a learning mechanism to help us avoid danger. However, it can become problematic following extreme trauma.
He said seeking counseling and going through counseling is a difficult process but it is the only way to heal, and it is the only way you can help yourself and help others.
“Education is the only thing that can end the stigma,” Carter said.
Excerpts from The Boston Globe and www.ARMY.mil
It is important to note that not everyone with Post-traumatic Stress will experience all the symptoms listed here.
feeling this way
toward those whom they are closest
drugs as a “self-medication” to blunt their emotions and
forget the trauma
resolved by withdrawing emotionally or even by becoming
which they felt during the trauma. They become sweaty, have
trouble breathing, have increased heart rates, feel dizzy, and
have stomachaches and headaches
individual actually thinks they are experiencing the trauma
again or seeing it unfold before their eyes
Suicides and Military Prevention Programs
Once every 72 minutes. That’s how often U.S. military veterans kill themselves.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs most recent study around 20 veterans commit suicide per day
For Iraq and Afghanistan veterans repeated tours have driven up the rate of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, which in turn, generates an increase in suicide attempts among those suffering from PTSD
Time’s Battleland News Magazine
“Here you are, you went to war and you killed the enemy and performed wonderfully. And now you have some very human moments, feelings and emotions.” “It is a perfect storm because a lot of them haven’t been reporting their psychological problems, their alienation, because the very fact that the services may seize on that to make them part of the downgrade and let them go.” “Many service members are fearful about being forced out of the military for psychological problems, that is devastating for Marines and soldiers and corpsmen who want to stay in.” “The official Marine Corps suicide prevention program counsels that “leaders teach that knowing when to seek help for stress is a trait of a strong committed Marine.”
Bill Rider, chief executive and cofounder of American Combat Veterans of War, USMC Sgt Vietnam 1968-69… The San Diego Union-Tribune
For both Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and suicides, part of the issue is not necessarily combat related,” Dr. M. David Rudd, the co-founder and scientific director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah told Fox News. He cited the “stress of being in the military during wartime,” saying there’s an intensified operations pace for those both deployed and at home
“The earlier you ask, the more effective treatment is,” Rudd said. “People with PTSD often do not report it for years and it may become severe, making the disorder more difficult to treat”
Zoe Szathmary, Fox News
“The good news is that officials have seen a decrease in suicide rates of veterans who seek care within the VA health system. Of the 20 deaths a day, only about five are patients in the health system.” “What we are seeing is getting help does matter. Treatment does work.” “The Challenge is expanding that outreach. Persuading younger veterans to seek care remains particularly problematic, because of stigma associated with mental health problems”.
Jan Kemp, past director of the VA’s National Mental Health Director for Suicide Prevention--- Stars and Stripes
The Marines alcohol abuse and prevention campaign also requires that every battalion and squadron have a suicide prevention program officer.
Because of the stigma against asking for help and fear of career repercussions, the Marine Corps has mandated yearly “Never Leave a Marine Behind” suicide prevention training for all Marines.
“The Army has certified nearly 2,500 military and civilian leaders to be able to interact with soldiers on suicide prevention, and has conducted thousands of hours of training with the troops.” “Suicide remains a daunting issue for the Army and the nation and “defies easy solutions.” “The service has expanded soldiers’ access to behavioral health services to improve their ability to cope with the stress that can be caused by separation, deployments, financial pressures, other work-related issues and relationships.”
Paul Price, Army spokesman, Associated Press
The Army has spent tens of millions of dollars in a long-term study of suicide, teaming with the National Institute of Health, and has developed a comprehensive program of installing emotional resilience in soldiers. “I think we have hit the turning point where people are really, really talking about behavioral health and the fact that it is OK to have problems. It’s what you do with those problems that’s important.”
Lt General Howard Bromberg, chief of Army personnel Stars and Stripes
"Among the Navy’s numerous assistance and educational programs is ACT, which urges awareness in all Sailors and gives distinct actions to be taken if someone is suspected to be suicidal. "The 'A' stands for ask, which is simply asking the affected person if they are thinking about suicide. 'C' is care, letting the person know you care about them. Finally, 'T' represents treat, which is to get the person treatment as soon as possible,"
Dr. Julie Ruddy, director of Recruit Mental Health at the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC)…America’s Navy
"A year ago, we launched an effort we called Task Force Resilient, which primarily aimed at the causes of suicide. We brought every resource we could bring to bear to the issue of building resiliency in our Sailors and their families.” "For suicide, resiliency represents the process of preparing for, recovering from, and adjusting to life in the face of stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy. We found through our research that there is a link between suicide prevention and resiliency, and that resiliency can be learned."
Rear Adm. Sean Buck, director of the 21st Century Sailor Office… America’s Navy
The Air Force has a program that emphasizes leadership responsibilities in the effort to prevent suicides and a new web site that includes tips on recognizing distressed personnel.”
Lt. Col. Brett Ashworth, Associated Press These are some of the programs we are aware of and there likely are more not just in the military, but veteran support organizations as well.
History of Post-traumatic Stress
PTSD is a fairly new name for an old story that has had severe psychological impact on people in immediate and lasting ways. PTSD has been with us for thousands of years as incidents in history prove beyond a doubt.
Steven Bentley, Vietnam Veterans Magazine
During the Vietnam War there were very few battlefield emotional casualties. The emotional distress began to show after they returned home. This delay in symptoms was called “delayed stress reaction” and “post-Vietnam syndrome”.
PTSD Among Military Veterans, Dr. Tom Williams, Disabled American Veterans
The good news is that PTSD is treatable. Unlike years ago when little was known about the injury, there are many specialists and services available now. Many vets have recovered from PTSD and become stronger from the experience.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
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