The military prepares our soldiers for the assignments they are given. They learn the skills that they need to perform their jobs, and they enter into the military with confidence and pride. Unfortunately our soldiers may not be prepared to deal with the emotional and mental effects of active duty life.
Benefits of Preparing for Emotional Stress in the Military
Not being fully prepared to deal with traumatic events causes many military personnel to experience the following:
- Frightening memories
- Repeated nightmares
- Sense of constant danger
- A lack of interest in daily activities
- Feelings of being numb, disconnected or unable to express moods
- An inability to trust other people
Trauma and high levels of stress can lead to effects beyond the behavioral. Physical and psychological effects of stress can also include the following:
- Agitation, or excitability
- Dizziness or fainting
Coping with Military Experiences
In an effort to manage symptoms of distress many soldiers turn to drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. It is not uncommon for a soldier to be prescribed sleep aids, antidepressants, antianxiety medications or pain relievers during the course of their service of duty. The availability of drugs and alcohol makes these easy if ineffective methods of coping for soldiers struggling with physical and emotional issues.
Helping a Loved One in the Military Avoid Addiction
Even though you may be miles away from your loved one, you can provide support and help him or her avoid addiction. Consider helping your loved one by doing the following:
- Stay in touch. Maintain contact with your loved one through email, letters and phone calls on a regular basis. Allow your loved one to feel connected to you.
- Speak openly. Let your loved one know that he or she can speak candidly with you about military and life experiences.
- Be direct without judgment. If you fear that your loved one is heading toward addiction, offer to find professional help and support all efforts to break free from drug and alcohol use.