Veterans Diagnosed With Post Traumatic Essay

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Veterans Diagnosed With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

"Resources for Veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after transitioning back into a civilian lifestyle

Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders transition to civilian lifestyle

PTSD is an "injury to the mind" in which a traumatic event causes lasting anxiety (McFarlane, Williamson, & Barton, 2009). PTSD may be difficult to treat, since stigma may prevent service members from seeking help (McFarlane et al., 2009). Study published in the American Medical Association Journal by (Shalev et al., 2001), show over a third of troops coming back from Iraq have been assessed to be at risk of PTSD and other mental health situations on their Post Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA).

The Military Health Service (MHS) recorded 39,365 patients who have been diagnosed with PTSD (Cook, Riggs, Thompson, Coyne, & Sheikh, 2004). The scope of the problem is considered to be greater given the likelihood of undiagnosed, unreported PTSD. Stigma and the fact that negative behaviors associated with PTSD can lead military service members to be dishonorably discharged are some of the reasons why PTSD may be undiagnosed and unreported. Dishonorably discharged service members are not eligible for VA benefits increasing the likelihood that if they have PTSD it will go undiagnosed.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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The conditions of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars place war fighters at an increased risk for PTSD. They are open to extremely hostile circumstances, in constant 360-degree danger of coming under mortar attack, drawing fire, and falling prey to IEDs. The recurrent exposure to trauma and the fact that just being in Iraq/Afghanistan is itself a traumatic stressor results in numerous numbers of veterans undergoing mental health problems, from difficult transition to full blown PTSD the require crisis intervention. In addition to the traumatic experience of combat exposure, other traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include sexual trauma/MST, unexpected death of a friend or family member, natural disasters, or serious accidents (McFarlane et al., 2009).

Those at higher risk for PTSD include individuals who have experienced traumatic events as a child, those with existing mental health issues, and/or substance abuse issues and females (McFarlane et al., 2009). The duration and severity of PTSD can vary, depending on factors such as the intensity of the trauma, perceived control of the traumatic event and the amount of social support received (McFarlane et al., 2009). PTSD can have lasting effects on one's life. PTSD is associated with impaired physical, social and mental health (Gabriel & Neal, 2002; Shalev et al., 2001). Thus, those with PTSD use health services more often (Campbell et al., 2009; Kennedy, Leal, Lewis, Cullen, & Amador, 2010)

According to (Cozza, 2005), PSTD is complicated by it occurrence accompanied by related difficulties or problems such as substance abuse, depression, memory loss problems among other mental and physical health difficulties. PSTD is associated with physical and social impairment upon an individual. Individuals suffering PTSD will be incapacitated to undertake to social and family roles, occupational and marital obligations. This inability will in some instances lead to family conflict, divorce, occupational instability and subsequent loss of job and difficulties in parenting (Cozza, 2005).

Re-establishment in civilian life after military service goes well for many, but challenges others in ways that can persist over the life course (Taft, Street, Marshall, & Dowdall, 2007; Van de Pitte, 2007). Military to civilian transition is an extremely meaningful but poorly researched event in the life courses of military Veterans (Van de Pitte, 2007). While there is no standard framework for defining and measuring successful reestablishment, Gottman, Gottman, and Atkins (2011) propose that physical, mental and social health, disability, access to determinants of health, and life course perspective are core concepts (Gottman et al., 2011).

The very nature of military training instills the idea that military-trained personnel are very different from civilians (Van de Pitte, 2007). While this view serves an important purpose in the military world, upon discharge, military personnel are likely to experience a strong "culture-shock" characterized by feelings of isolation and aloneness (Clark, Scholten, Walker, & Gironda, 2009). Friends and family members are often unaware of the stark contrast between civilian and military culture, thus unwittingly contributing to the veteran's difficulty in reintegrating.

This incomprehension is further compounded by the fact that often, military personnel in their transition are not offered adequate support by society (Westwood, Black, & McLean, 2005). Additionally, the recognition and glory that can come with the status of a veteran is usually quickly forgotten by the community, leaving former soldiers alone in their transition (Gawande, 2004). Former military members thus return to a life that not only they do not recognize, but that does not recognize them.

Reaction to a traumatic event in different people differs and individual reactions may differ with time depending on the environment and circumstance surrounding the individual. At the onset of the disorder, one finds difficulty concentrating on salient aspects with unusually high stress levels being observed. During this period, the individual is only able to think of the situation arousing their trauma. The acute trauma situation may decrease over time or last for days or weeks. In the unfortunate event that the traumas last for periods longer than psychologically expected and occur intensely and frequently, the situation is escalated to be Posttraumatic Stress Disorder PSTD (Clark et al., 2009)

Veterans can also be susceptible to war-related trauma (Westwood et al., 2005), adding extra difficulties to their re-adaptation to civilian life. Regardless of what position the individual served in the military, and regardless of the type of mission he or she was involved in, former military members can return home with unresolved issues and stress reactions related to their military experiences (Van de Pitte, 2007).

Although in recent years combat-related PTSD has gained widespread importance and acknowledgment, the military mindset has yet to move away from the notion that suffering from a psychological disorder does not imply one is weak, soft, or mentally unstable (Westwood et al., 2005). The "I should just be able to deal with it" mindset, coupled with the stigma associated with seeking treatment for psychological problems, decreases the likelihood of veterans effectively coping with their traumatic memories and associated difficulties. Despite the increased regard for combat veterans and increased recognition of combat trauma, the stigma of experiencing signs of combat trauma, such as depression, anxiety, fear, or post-traumatic stress, persist (Howard, 2007).

Male veterans may wish to identify with the masculine stereotype of the "real man" being one characterized by strength and emotional control; similarly, female veterans may feel they need to prove that they are equally as "tough" as their male comrades (Matsakis, 2007). Thus, both sexes can find it difficult to admit they may benefit from psychological assistance.

Veterans may also struggle with the language needed to openly talk about their experiences in a way that can be understood and accepted by those close to them (Westwood et al., 2008). They may even see themselves as toxic because they expect to harm others if they share their knowledge of the hideousness of war (Matsakis, 2007). The soldier is confronted with unimaginable human suffering, the consequences of war and destruction, death, physical injuries and psychological suffering, the brutalization of morality, cruelty, sadism, or apathy (Westwood et al., 2005), and mainly copes with it alone. Not succeeding (at least outwardly) poses a risk that they be viewed as morally or psychologically deficient (Matsakis, 2007). However, veterans who come home to families that embrace them and do not shame them for showing signs of combat trauma are much more likely to have an easier time readjusting to civilian life (Stecker, Fortney, Hamilton, & Ajzen, 2007).

Having been to war can also change the way veterans think. For example, the assumption that the world is a safe and loving place can be destroyed (Kennedy et al., 2010). Additionally, Matsakis maintains that the high stakes during combat and the warrior mindset that is developed create a perception that issues are either black or white, with someone either being "with you" or "against you," and no possibility of an in between stance. For example, "when thinking like a warrior, the vet will view another person based on what the person is doing at the moment or in the immediate past, rather than take into consideration other things he knows about that individual or all the other experiences he has had with him or her." Furthermore, due to the fact that, in war, mistakes are intolerable, veterans may come to develop a mid-set where no mistakes are allowed; instead, perfectionism is the only acceptable form of being. It may not be surprising, then, that these changes in cognitive processing can lead to extreme difficulties in the veterans' intimate relationships.

Veterans frequently indicate that upon returning home, they are expected to resume "life as usual" almost instantly. Often, it is not recognized that the readjustment to civilian life can take months, if not years (Matsakis, 2007)Former military members may face difficulties in social, emotional, and occupational adjustment upon discharge,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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