According to msnbc.msn.com, over ten percent of soldiers who return home from active combat duty exhibit signs of posttraumatic stress disorder.
One’s skill as a soldier has nothing to do with how he processes the trauma of constant slaughter and tragedy as these events will damage anyone. However, a good soldier will admit the havoc these scenes have wreaked and seek professional therapy to avoid developing chronic mental illness.
Symptoms of PTSD
If you struggle with PTSD, any of the following issues will probably occur:
- Hyper-responsiveness to sudden stimuli
- Uncontrollable shifts in mood
- Violent behavior
- Reduced ability to concentrate
- Lack of interest in life
- Fatalistic mentality and life expectations
- Feelings of powerlessness
- Guilt over not having done more to stop the chaos
- Unexplained aching
- Temptation to suicide
- Drug or alcohol abuse to mute the turmoil caused by symptoms
Many soldiers avoid therapy and deny their symptoms because they fear ridicule or the stigma of failure as a soldier. These soldiers must understand that those most likely to ridicule them probably suffer from cases of PTSD, but do not want to believe themselves weak or unfit for the job. In this case, take comfort in the fact that PTSD is a somewhat common response to the violence and danger of war.
How to Admit PTSD
To help soldiers overcome their fear of being mocked for seeing a psychologist, PTSD screenings are now part of routine military checkups. This helps soldiers because when they are finally ready to talk, they are already at a doctor’s office, which will be kept completely confidential.
PTSD may remain dormant for months after returning home from combat or being removed from active duty. For this reason, soldiers may receive PTSD screenings after going home to catch the disorder when it first crops up. Family and community members can help by showing support for soldiers. This creates a climate of openness that will encourage troops to admit PTSD. If a person experiences stress that is too great for her to handle, this is not an indication of personal weakness.