By Master Sgt. Thomas Moore, USASOC Senior Enlisted Behavioral Health AdvisorJune 21, 2018
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a monstrous term that covers numerous situations. Sadly, trauma does not discriminate between race, gender or military service branches.
PTSD is caused by a traumatic event with symptoms occurring post incident. The person perceiving the traumatic incident views the event as dangerous, life threating or shocking. The key to PTSD is the person's perceptions of the event. We must always keep in mind that we are all unique people experiencing life with divergent viewpoints.
According to the National Center for PTSD, in the United States, seven to eight out of 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. In American society, 10 percent of women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared to about four percent of men.
A 2010 study from Richardson, Frueh, & Acierno shows that in the U.S. military the point of prevalence of combat-related PTSD ranges from two to 17 percent and lifetime rates around six to 31 percent.
PTSD comes with a plethora of signs and symptoms. Trying to make this list less overwhelming and manageable is a task in itself. The simpler the solution, the better the outcome. Thus, Soldiers should keep in mind that a mental health care professional should evaluate any behavioral change outside normal behavior.
Usually, initial symptoms are anger, old grumpy man syndrome, loss of sleep and nightmares. Let's take your car for example. It can leak oil and still run great. But, unless you fix the leak or add more oil to your engine, over time it will break down. The cost in time and money is always cheaper to fix the leak than the engine.
I always encourage Soldiers to come in for a "tune up" for even the smallest of issues.
There are many treatment options for PTSD. They range from individual and group therapies to thought reduction therapy and medication. Even yoga, tension and trauma release exercises fall into the spectrum of holistic PTSD treatments.
The best form of treatment for PTSD is a mixed treatment methodology -- a little bit of everything. The key to successful treatment is not the treatment itself, but the willingness of the Soldier to be challenged and grow during treatment.
Finally, alcohol and PTSD do not blend well together. Soldiers might get some temporary relief from PTSD symptoms by drinking alcohol, but sadly, overtime the symptoms worsen with alcohol use. According the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, PTSD was four times more likely among veterans that drink alcohol compared to that observed in the general U.S. adult population.
It is recommended that Soldiers refrain from alcohol use while being treated for PTSD and drink responsibly once treatment is complete.
The following is an editorial from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Surgeon's office.