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A Battle on the Homefront: Combating PTSD



Veterans Day is November 11, a time when we honor those who served in the U.S.

Armed Forces. But honoring our veterans should be something we do everyday. With

conflicts overseas continuing, we hear many cases in the news of soldiers returning

home suffering from PTSD — or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


While it’s true this disorder is most commonly associated with military veterans, the fact

is that it can affect virtually anybody and at any time. PTSD is like an emotional battle

wound that soldiers bring home with them. If can manifest in different ways:


• when the traumatic event continues to be re-experienced in ways that disrupt the

individual’s daily life;

• when the individual actively avoids reminders of the traumatic event;

• when the individual’s way of thinking becomes much more negative;

• when the individual becomes more irritable or anxious, or has trouble sleeping and

concentrating.


Veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD may display some or all of these symptoms to

varying degrees. Moderate to severe symptoms can be disruptive to their ability to

function in his or her daily life. That’s why it’s important to seek help if these symptoms

begin to emerge. While there is no biological test that can detect PTSD, diagnosis is

based on an in-depth evaluation of a patient’s current symptoms, trauma history, and

history of other mental health concerns by a mental-health professional.


As for effective treatments, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy or “CBT,” is most

commonly used. In exposure therapy, individuals receive educational information about

PTSD, learn relaxation and coping skills, and discuss the details of their trauma in a safe

environment with their therapist. Other types of therapies and/or medications are also

options.


Apart from the VA, which you may or may not have success with, you can seek

counseling help (some for free) from a wide variety of sources including Veterans

Families United, Headstrong and Talkspace, which provides online therapy for veterans.

Wishing you the best!

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