Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that is caused by experiences where patients perceive life-threatening harm, be it physical or psychological. Physical threats that occur near an individual may also cause PTSD, even if that individual was not directly threatened. For instance, if someone observes an explosion, she may still suffer from this debilitating disorder.
Soldiers who experience combat or live in a hostile environment may develop PTSD months or years later. The high amount of physical danger and stress of a combat environment may cause this issue even in soldiers who were not directly involved in combat. Witnessing or being involved in combat may increase the chances of developing PTSD.
Who May Develop PTSD?
Anyone may develop anxiety or PTSD due to combat-related trauma, although not everyone will. Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to anxiety disorders, and others may have suffered stress in the past that increases the chance of developing PTSD.
More so than experience trauma as an adult, childhood trauma increases the chance of developing anxiety issues later in life. Being addicted to drugs may cause people to react more strongly to combat-related trauma, as some drugs cause anxiety and depression when abused.
How Combat-Related Trauma May Lead to Drug Addiction
Combat-related trauma may increase daily stress and anxiety, and it may cause PTSD. Individuals coping with PTSD may have panic attacks when reminded of trauma, or they may lash out at loved ones at the drop of a hat.
Some individuals may use drugs to cope with anxiety or numb uncomfortable feelings. Soldiers prescribed painkillers for injuries may abuse them to cope with emotional pain. Using drugs to ignore trauma may lead to rebound anxiety and addiction, which makes trauma more difficult to treat.
Treatment for Combat-related Trauma
Therapy for trauma may help soldiers cope with PTSD and anxiety. Counselors will help troops address trauma and the emotions it causes, but it will also teach patients to process these emotions in a healthy way.
Drug addiction treatment may help those struggling with drug abuse and trauma. Addiction treatment can help patients stop using drugs to cope with emotional pain, and it also teaches them healthy ways to cope with their emotional issues. Patients will learn how to accept stressful thoughts and deal with situations that may bring back memories of trauma.