Post-traumatic after facing such horrors in battle

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, often occurs to people who have experienced severe trauma or a life-threatening event. Soldiers in combat face life-threatening events all the time and have to deal with the horrendous conditions of war. Veterans often have difficulty adjusting back into society after facing such horrors in battle and after becoming desensitized by all the violence. Various aspects about war can cause PTSD and there are multiple symptoms of it that a veteran can suffer from. Recovering from PTSD is a difficult task but it is possible through proper help. Many people, however, often overlook PTSD that veterans suffer from and assume that there is not many ways to help them. PTSD is also a psychological injury so many people are quick to disregard this ailment because it is not a physical wound. This paper examines the causes, symptoms, and cures for PTSD and how many veterans suffer from this disorder and how they struggle to adjust back into society after combat.Post-traumatic stress disorder was previously known as shell shock following World War I. It was often caused due to the constant invasions during war, the sense of hopelessness, and non-stop fear and panic which may cause soldiers to react with bursts of violence, nightmares, insomnia, and various other ailments. During World War I, people did not fully understand shell-shock or how it impacted a person. Shell shock, at the time, was only really understood as physical or psychological damage, or simply a lack of a drive or will to live. After World War II, people replaced the term “shell shock” with “combat stress reaction” which was a better, but not a perfect, understanding of how trauma from warfare and the constant possibility of death caused this disorder (Smith, Robinson & Segal, 2017). In war, soldiers come face-to-face with death almost everyday; they see friends die and come close to death. They are forced to move past these traumatic events quickly and are given no time to process or recover from them. This is what desensitizes the soldiers and what often causes them to suffer from PTSD. According to Smith et al.’s research, “it’s normal for your mind and body to be in shock after such an event, but this normal response becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets ‘stuck,'” (2017). Soldiers are expected to move on very quickly after they experience horrific events which may cause many of them to suffer from PTSD because it simply may be too much for one’s brain to handle. When faced with a stressful situation the body typically reacts automatically one of two ways. The first way is called mobilization, which is where the body’s fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. One’s heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, and muscles tighten, increasing strength and reaction speed (Smith, Robinson & Segal, 2017). Once the danger has passed, the body calms down and returns to its normal state and functions as it usually would. The second way the body may react is called immobilization which is when the body is unable to move on from an event or time period due to the amount it taxed the body. Although the danger may have passed, the body becomes “stuck” and is unable to return to its normal state.This is called PTSD.Symptoms of PTSD may take months, even years, to surface after war. Once they do surface, however, most of the time they take over one’s life and disrupt daily life function. Common symptoms of PTSD include recurring nightmares or intrusive memories of the traumatic event, insomnia, loss of interest, changes in thoughts and mood such as anger and irritability, and being on guard all the time (“PTSD,” 2017). Recurrent memories from battle can cause veterans to have extreme emotional or physical reactions such as “panic attacks, uncontrollable shaking, and heart palpitations,” (Smith, Robinson & Segal, 2017). These nightmares can feel very real and cause veterans to feel as though the events are happening all over again. Veterans may feel like they are alone and that no one else would understand what he or she experienced during war and may begin to keep to themselves. They may separate themselves from family members and friends while suffering from PTSD and show some symptoms of depression. After hearing gunshots a lot during warfare and constantly being afraid of being attacked at any given moment, it is very likely for a veteran to be jumpy and on edge. After returning from warfare, veterans may suffer from PTSD symptoms well after battle and feel alone and confused. They may also resort to numbing the pain they are feeling through the use of drugs or alcohol and may even resort to self-harming practices (Litz & Orsillo, 2016). The public should be well-educated on what many of our soldiers suffer from so we can help them more appropriately and help them adjust back into society.After being under constant bombardment, various noises or places or things could trigger a veterans PTSD. PTSD can often take over a person’s life and they may feel as though they will never be the same person they were before war. Experiences in the war-zone tax soldiers and morale in shocking ways. Soldiers fought for our safety and freedom so it is our duty to guarantee that veterans suffering from PTSD receive the right help to help them adjust back into society. The best way that we, as friends and family, can help veterans is by letting them know that we are there to support them through what they are struggling with and that we are there to listen to them. A good way for veterans to recover from PTSD is by connecting with others emotionally and simply having someone there to listen to them patiently. Although it is good for soldiers to talk about their traumatic experiences, it is a very delicate topic so it is important to not force them to talk; allow the veterans talk without pressuring them to do so (Smith, Robinson & Segal, 2017). This being said, new veterans many be very reluctant to talk or engage in any social interaction but it is important to not take it personally and to stay patient for their wellbeing. One final thing families and friends can do to help veterans suffering from PTSD is to “try to anticipate and prepare for PTSD triggers such as certain sounds, sights, or smells.” (Smith, Robinson & Segal, 2017). This will help you figure out what places to avoid or how to react when you sense an environment may trigger a loved one. It is very important as family members and friends to be readily available to veterans suffering PTSD because this is something that is easier to combat with a strong support system. It is very easy to overlook the symptoms of PTSD and get very annoyed with your loved one, but it is important to stay patient in order to help these veterans get back on track.It is crucial for veterans to receive help if they are suffering from PTSD. A whopping 50% of veterans suffering from PTSD do not seek treatment which can lead to suicide and depression (“Veterans statistics,” 2015). Veterans should take multiple steps toward recovering in order to live a normal life again without being dragged down by this disorder. Exercise is found to help improve one’s mental health with the release of endorphins according to Smith et al.’s study (2017). This is a good step to take as long as the veteran is physically capable of exercising, as it can be very helpful to focus on the movement of one’s body and breathing patterns. When feeling anxious or out-of-control, it is important to take a moment to remind your body of what it needs to calm down. Mindful breathing can help lower your heart rate and calm yourself down in moments of anxiety or panic. Another important tool is to remember what certain smells, noises, or items brought you comfort, whether it be family photos or listening to a song (Smith, Robinson & Segal, 2017). Practicing healthy habits is key, as it is quite easy to turn towards unhealthy, destructive habits when suffering from PTSD. It is important to relax, avoid alcohol and drugs, blow off steam by pounding a punching bag or listening to music, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting plenty of sleep (2017). One could say the hardest part of dealing with PTSD is the flashback and nightmares because only you can experience it and it may be hard for an outsider to really understand the feeling. When these events occur it is important to state to yourself what the reality of your setting is regardless of where your mind may be telling yourself you are. This can be done by stating a sentence describing exactly what you are experiencing and reassure yourself that none of the trauma is actually occurring right now (2017). Lastly, seek professional treatment such as counselling or medication. All of these are crucial steps to take in order to help overcome the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people come back from war and feel the need to suffer through PTSD alone because many of them feel alone and believe that no one else could understand what it is that they are going through; however, PTSD is quite common among veterans. After the Vietnam War, approximately 15% of veterans were diagnosed with PTSD according to a study done in the early 1980s by the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) (“PTSD: National,” 2016). “It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime,” (2016). NVVRS did a re-analysis in 2003 and found that now 80% of veterans reported showing signs of PTSD after 20-25 years. These statistics are alarming and these are not even counting those veterans who have failed to seek treatment for their disorder. A study showed that out of a sample of 600 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 14% suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and 39% of them abused alcohol. Veterans should not feel as though they are struggling alone. It should be known that PTSD is very prevalent among veterans and that there are various steps that can be taken towards recovery. Many people forget about the psychological injuries people face in war since it may not be very evident at first. Physical injuries are easy to recognize and there are clear cut ways towards healing. The same stigma is not with psychological issues such as PTSD. A lot of people feel alone and blame themselves for the change in behavior. People may also not know that there is a way to help victims of PTSD since it is an invisible wound. From my paper, I have described numerous methods of recovery and things that can be done by veterans and family members to help victims get well again.

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