Aging Veteran Re-Emergence of Trauma Issues Essay

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Aging Veteran

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Re-Emergence of Trauma Issues

The Aging Veteran: Re-Emergence of Trauma Issues

Exposure to trauma can have a significant and lasting impact on the lives of all persons. Each individual is affected by trauma in different ways. The level of trauma that a military professional can be exposed to, particularly during times of combat, far surpass what is experienced in day-to-day life. The manifestation of this trauma can present itself quite differently based on the individual stressors, internal and external, experienced by the veteran. Some veterans encounter immediate symptoms after being exposed to the death and suffering of a war, while others may not manifest symptoms for years to come (Sherwood et al., 2003). The incidence of trauma symptomology of veterans exposed to combat situations is quite high. These symptoms may include recurrent flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and instability of moods (Sherwood et al., 2003).

Veterans have experienced events in combat that they may believe are incomprehensible to civilians or helping professionals. For a veteran admitting that they are experiencing psychological symptoms may fundamentally go against the image that they have created of the strong and courageous soldier (Sherwood et al., 2003). They may also experience feelings of shame or guilt over others who have lost their lives or acts that they have taken part in and may worry that others will not understand them (Sherwood et al., 2003).

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The aging process forces individuals to evaluate their lives and naturally involves developmental stressors. As one transitions to older adulthood, the likelihood that they have experienced a significant loss increases (Sherwood et al., 2003). As these incidents increase so do feelings of loss and despair. These emotions may trigger an older veteran who may already be mourning their losses, examining the role that experiences have had on their life choices, and attempting to accept who they have been and who they are in the present (Sherwood et al., 2003).

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