War – we as a nation have been at war since 9/11/2001 or
over 18 years. As a result, we have become quite familiar
with the term PTSD (Post—Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Is PTSD the same as combat stress (commonly referred to as combat fatigue)? Combat stress is often confused with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event like war, assault, or disaster — either experiencing it or witnessing it. While many of the symptoms are similar between the two conditions, they are different.
Combat stress usually happens for brief periods of time and is considered a natural reaction to the traumatic
events that service members experience. Symptoms often disappear after a service member is home for a few months, or even weeks.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, on the other hand, is more severe. It can often interfere with a person’s daily responsibilities and demands a more aggressive treatment. PTSD usually requires sessions with a mental health professional and methods to process difficult emotions.
A person diagnosed with PTSD often experiences specific symptoms – such as recurrent dreams or flashbacks – following a traumatic event as part of the combat experience. PTSD symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person and are generally grouped into four types:
intrusive memories associated with the event which may include recurrent, unwanted distressing memories; flashbacks; upsetting dreams or nightmares; or severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.-
avoidance which may include trying to avoid thinking or talking or avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
negative changes in thinking and mood which may include negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world; hopelessness about the future; memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event; difficulty maintaining close relationships; feeling detached from family and friends; lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed; difficulty experiencing positive emotions; feeling emotionally numb.
and changes in physical and emotional reactions which may include being easily startled or frightened; always being on guard for danger; self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast; trouble sleeping; trouble concentrating; irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior; or overwhelming guilt or shame.
This brings us to the ALCOVETS 22-1 Project. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs study, each day over 20 veterans take their own lives. Of those veterans, one is a veteran here in North Carolina. The ALCOVETS 22-1 Project is an effort to identify or provide programs and opportunities for warriors and veterans in Alamance County who have experienced PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you would like to talk with someone about non-profit organizations that provide services associated with PTSD or TBI, contact Samuel Siler at 757-403-4791. Another – ART EXPRESSION FOR VETERANS –will afford veterans the opportunity to express themselves through art, whether painting, writing or other artistic media. If interested, contact Karen Chin at 571-235-8071.