26 Jun How PTSD Affects Veterans?
Though PTSD has been around for a long time, it’s only recently that healthcare professionals have started understanding how this ailment can manifest different symptoms in individuals.
PTSD, also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental illness where an individual fails to recover from a traumatic event. This can lead to a series of symptoms like nightmares, hallucinations, panic attacks and even depression.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), PTSD can be defined as a feeling of out of control and is not limited to military members.
In military members, however, PTSD can surface in members who have experienced traumatic events like-
- Military sexual trauma
- Loss of fellow members
While PTSD is related to trauma, experiencing a traumatic event isn’t always necessary. It can also be detected if an individual lives in a combat zone.
PTSD In Veterans
It was only in the 1960s that the US military recognized PTSD as a response to the Vietnam War.
According to recent surveys, 30% of the Veterans who served in the Vietnam War have PTSD. In other words, every 30 out of 100 Vietnam Veterans had PTSD at one point in their lives.
Moreover, 12% of the Veterans who served in the Gulf war experience PTSD symptoms every year.
While the armed conflict is an important factor that can lead to PTSD, some Veterans who served in brief combat missions or were put through enhanced training methods might also develop PTSD.
Besides this, some of the other factors that can trigger PTSD are-
- Type of enemy
- The politics surrounding the conflict
- The actions you took during combat
Another major cause of PTSD is military sexual trauma (MST). According to recent studies,
- 23% of the women report the cases of MST during their military service.
- 55% of women and 38% of men report MST during their service.
Moreover, “the culture of silence” makes these situations worse and can cause more prominent symptoms.
The VA provides around 200 programs for PTSD.
Here’s a list of services offered by these programs-
- 1-to-1 mental health assessment and diagnosis of PTSD
- Providing the necessary medications
- Talk therapy (Cognitive Processing Therapy)
- Family therapy
- Group therapies
To access these services, you must apply for VA’s TRICARE services. After signing up your claim, you can follow either of the two steps-
- If you have a care provider, discuss your issues with him/her. The provider will help you by providing you with the necessary treatment.
- If you have not been assigned any healthcare provider, you can visit the regional VA office or call at general information hotline.