Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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In all honesty I did not hear the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) until some time after I re-deployed from Iraq in mid August 2003. Surely the term had been around long before them, but it wasn’t commonly used acronym in the military. I didn’t have nearly the frequent use that is has in today’s Army. Nowadays, everything a Soldier does is associated with PTSD even if the Soldier has not been diagnosed with it; it has become such a ill-used word that from what I can see everyone is try to jump on the band wagon. So if Soldier is late for my formation, the first thing he says is, “I must have PTSD or something, I need to get check out”, well the whole time I am thinking the Soldier just didn’t want to get up this morning, he doesn’t have PTSD. So I can understand how the screening for PTSD may be a bit diluted as everyone [thinks] they have it, even those who are new recruits and have never even been to combat. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat (National Institute of Mental Health, 2011). Although not all individuals who have been traumatized develop PTSD, there can be significant physical consequences of being traumatized. For example, research indicates that people who have been exposed to an extreme stressor sometimes have a smaller hippocampus, the region of brain that plays a role in memory, than people who have not been exposed to trauma (MedicineNet, 2011). Often family member those diagnosed with PTSD find themselves often feeling hurt, alienated, or discouraged because the patient has yet to overcome the ordeal of this trauma (Hall, 2008, p. 226). The additional stressors that families face by their uniformed Soldier going to war is both physical and emotionally draining, however, they must understand in order for the Soldier to be effective, they must be able to cope with the warrior culture and warfare associated with the 21st century (Hall, 2008, p. 227). When a family member goes to war, the impact on those left at home can be challenging.

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