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Is Combat Ptsd Different From Other Forms Of Ptsd

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Combat Stress Or Ptsd

The 5 Types of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Combat stress is often confused with post-traumatic stress disorder, which can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like war, assault or disaster. While many of the symptoms are similar between the two conditions, they are different.

Combat stress usually happens for brief periods 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 persons 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.

In summary, PTSD tends to be more severe and usually requires working with a mental health professional. Combat stress is a more common reaction to demanding and traumatic experiences. Service members can usually recover and resume their everyday lives by following some simple strategies and taking time to heal.

Ptsd And Substance Abuse Are Closely Related

People who have developed PTSD are five times more likely than people without PTSD to develop a substance use disorder. A 2008 study reported that 50 percent of people living in inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities will meet the criteria for co-occurring PTSD. Another study reported that people with PTSD are reportedly 14 times more likely to struggle with addiction.

Many people who develop problems with alcohol or drugs do so because they are self-medicating PTSD symptoms however, abusing substances will make symptoms of any mental illness, including PTSD, much worse. Additionally, abusing drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of suffering a traumatic event, like abuse or an accident, which increases the risk of developing PTSD or experiencing increased symptoms.

Veterans are one of the most studied demographics who struggle with PTSD and co-occurring drug or alcohol abuse. One study examining veterans three to four months after returning from deployment found that 27 percent abused alcohol and a significant association between how life-threatening combat was and the rate of alcohol misuse. Those who experienced more severe combat situations had 93 percent higher odds of screening positive for alcohol abuse. Among Vietnam-era veterans, 41.4 percent were found to have both a substance use disorder and, later, PTSD.

People who struggle with co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse are more likely to experience other issues, including:

Information And Advice On Combat Ptsd Symptoms

Returning from service and readjusting to life outside the military can be challenging. It can also mean dealing with the deeply distressing and disabling symptoms of combat related post-traumatic stress disorder .

If you feel isolated or withdrawn from others, remember that you are not alone. There is plenty of support to help you with your thoughts and feelings.

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Four Important Things To Know About Combat Stress And Trauma Reactions To Combat And Operational Stress And Trauma May Include:

Exposure to combat and operational stress affects service members in many ways. While some of these effects can be positive, many service members experience lasting emotional scars. Being deeply impacted by what you did and what you saw is to be expected. For some, the psychological and emotional wounds run deep and make it hard to move on and function effectively in various roles .

Here are four important things to know:

  • You are not alone.
  • This is not about weakness.
  • You deserve to heal and recover from the invisible, psychological wounds of war as much as you would deserve the best care for the physical wounds of war.
  • Help is available.
  • Staying informed and learning ways to manage and cope with what you’re experiencing are key in the readjustment process. Some common reactions to combat and operation stress and trauma are listed below. Keep in mind that these post-traumatic reactions can present themselves at varying times and to varying degrees from individual to individual. If your reactions interfere with your life, do not improve, or worsen over time, please take the steps to get the help you need and deserve.

    Reactions to combat and operational stress and trauma may include:

    The Value Of Legal Representation

    Ptsd Trigger Quotes. QuotesGram

    Applications for VA disability benefits based on PTSD are frequently denied due to misinterpretations of the law. Seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney who can help you thoroughly document your service-connected PTSD and your secondary-service connected conditions is the best way to protect your right to the benefits you earned while serving your country.The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, has more than 20 years of experience helping Veterans navigate the complexities of VA disability law. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

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    General Anxiety Disorder: Signs And Diagnosis

    GAD patients experience excessive anxiety and worry regularly than people without the disorder, as these symptoms are inherently associated with the disorder.

    Having Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by systematically and persistently high levels of anxiety in various situations and parts of the life of an individual. Patients suffering from GAD are commonly described as anxious individuals or people that worry too much.

    A person suffering from this condition may also experience visible manifestations of distress like tissue strains or headaches, trouble sleeping or focusing, and irritation. A persons response to something causing them to be concerned can sometimes seem unreasonable or unusual.

    GAD signs can sometimes be asymptomatic, although they usually need to be present for a considerable period before they can be diagnosed.

    The Person May Also Experience the Following:

    • Having a restless feeling or being on edge
    • Having an easy time getting tired
    • Having difficulty focusing
    • Tensions in the muscle
    • Disruptions of sleeping patterns

    GADs signs should last for half a year compared to other types of anxiety disorders before you can be diagnosed with the disorder. GAD affects 6.8% of the adult population, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of Americans. You are not alone if you struggle with GAD symptoms.

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    What Is The Difference Between Combat Stress And Ptsd

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological stress affliction that affects those who have been exposed to a debilitating psychological trauma. A related neurological disorder, known as combat stress, also affects individuals who have been exposed to strenuous conditions during the course of battle. The only connection between combat stress and PTSD is the fact that they are both neurological disorders precipitated by traumatic events. Combat stress and PSTD are different disorders with different symptoms and effects on the afflicted individuals.

    Combat stress and PTSD also differ in the ability of the individuals affected to manage the respective conditions. This is due to the fact that combat stress is relatively more manageable than PTSD. For one reason, PTSD significantly cripples the afflicted individual socially, emotionally and in other tangible ways that keep the person from functioning in a normal capacity. As such, combat stress might last for a limited length of time, while PTSD might last significantly longer.

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    Combat Stress Vs Ptsd: How To Tell The Difference

    Combat Stress vs. PTSD: How to Tell the Difference

    Post Traumatic Growth 160227

    I have wanted to write about my thoughts on the differences between combat stress and PTSD. Lately, I am hearing the term Combat PTSD. Anyway, when I began my research I found this gem written by a Navy Doctor named Commander Carrie Kennedy. It is a good read:


    This blog post is from Navy Medicine Live, written by Cmdr. Carrie Kennedy, a neuropsychologist and aerospace experimental psychologist with Marine Corps Embassy Security Group. Kennedy describes the similarities and differences of combat stress and post traumatic stress disorder to help you prevent or effectively manage both.

    It seems like the terms combat stress and PTSD are everywhere these days its hard to go a few days without seeing a news story about veterans and these issues. But what are these concepts? Do they mean the same thing? And, perhaps most importantly, what can be done?

    Combat stress and PTSD are very different. However, because they share certain symptoms, you may not easily recognize that theyre different. It requires some understanding to separate the two. Unfortunately, sometimes they look similar, which can make understanding them somewhat complicated.

    To receive a PTSD diagnosis, specific symptoms have to be present following a traumatic event in which death, serious injury or sexual violation occurred or was a real possibility.

    Work Through Survivors Guilt

    PTSD, MST, and other Non-Combat Veterans Disability Claims

    Feelings of guilt are very common among veterans with PTSD. You may have seen people injured or killed, often your friends and comrades. In the heat of the moment, you dont have time to fully process these events as they happen. But lateroften when youve returned homethese experiences come back to haunt you. You may ask yourself questions such as:

    • Why didnt I get hurt?
    • Why did I survive when others didnt?
    • Could I have done something differently to save them?

    You may end up blaming yourself for what happened and believing that your actions led to someone elses death. You may feel like others deserved to live more than youthat youre the one who should have died. This is survivors guilt.

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    Treating Ptsd Vs Combat

    Most PTSD treatments are developed for the population at large and few are dedicated towards combat-related PTSD specifically. That said, we do know that general treatments for PTSD work for many people no matter what the cause of their PTSD.

    So while there are specific challenges faced by those with combat-related PTSD, we know that all people with PTSD can get PTSD treatment and recover.

    For statistic references, please see the Veterans Administration PTSD site.

    You can also connect with Dr. Harry Croft on his website, , , and .

    APA ReferenceCroft, H. . PTSD vs. Combat-Related PTSD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, April 7 from

    Ptsd Treatment For Veterans: Effective Approaches

    Thankfully, there are several effective and evidence-based forms of mental health care designed to treat veterans experiencing PTSD. In fact, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been a driving force in the development and testing of many PTSD treatment modalities, and VA health care facilities offer a wide spectrum of mental health services. Veterans interested in their mental health treatment options should consult resources available on, including pages compiled by the VAs National Center for PTSD.

    Recent research suggests that psychotherapy is the most effective first-line approach to treating PTSD. Psychotropic medications may also be helpful, particularly when combined with talk therapy approaches. Additionally, some studies indicate that veterans with PTSD may benefit from coping methods that they can practice independently, without clinicians present.

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    Symptoms Of Ptsd In Veterans

    While you can develop symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following a traumatic event, sometimes symptoms dont surface for months or even years after you return from deployment. While PTSD develops differently in each veteran, there are four symptom clusters:

  • Recurrent, intrusive reminders of the traumatic event, including distressing thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks where you feel like the event is happening again. You may experience extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the trauma such as panic attacks, uncontrollable shaking, and heart palpitations.
  • Extreme avoidance of things that remind you of the traumatic event, including people, places, thoughts, or situations you associate with the bad memories. This includes withdrawing from friends and family and losing interest in everyday activities.
  • Negative changes in your thoughts and mood, such as exaggerated negative beliefs about yourself or the world and persistent feelings of fear, guilt, or shame. You may notice a diminished ability to experience positive emotions.
  • Being on guard all the time, jumpy, and emotionally reactive, as indicated by irritability, anger, reckless behavior, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, and hypervigilance .
  • Suicide prevention in veterans with PTSD

    Its common for veterans with PTSD to experience suicidal thoughts. Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, and it doesnt mean that you are crazy, weak, or flawed.

    Types Of Therapy For Ptsd


    Trauma can be sexual, psychological, emotional, or physical. Determining what the best therapy for trauma is can be a bit tricky, as you will need to know the differing types of PTSD first. Various types of therapy exist depending on your PTSD severity. Once you discover the best type of therapy for you, it can teach you how to identify and manage triggers so you can regain control of your life.

    Prescription medications for PTSD may also be used as a treatment option along with therapy, to maximize benefits, especially in the initial stages of healing. However, the goal of therapy is to teach you how to learn to anticipate, recognize, and cope with your symptoms, not rely on pharmaceuticals long-term.

    A common goal of all types of PTSD therapy is to teach you effective coping skills to manage your condition. This can include things like relaxation meditations, breathing control , stress-busting exercises, and healthy eating and sleeping habits. All of these can contribute to how you feel at any given moment. Learning new skills that might enhance the rest of your life is worth the time and energy youll invest into your therapy.

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    No Records Of The Incident

    The VAs obligation to assist pertains mainly to gathering records. If the incident never made it into the records, the stressor will have to be proved by other means. This scenario occurs often in the case of military sexual trauma , in which the victim wishes to remain silent due to fear of reprisal or feelings of shame.

    Corroborating evidence in cases where the stressor incident was not reported can come in the form of other service records, such as performance evaluations. Perhaps the veteran was doing well at work, moving toward a promotion, and suddenly became a substandard member of the team. He or she may have also sought medical treatment for injuries or problems related to the stressful incident, creating a paper trail in the process.

    Evidence of an in-service stressor does not always have to come from military service records. Instead, the veteran can have friends, family, spouses, or fellow service-members submit statements about the time of the stressor. Even if the veteran did not tell them about the incident itself, perhaps they noticed the veterans personality changing.

    Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing

    EMDR therapy doesnt necessarily involve talking with your therapist in the traditional way you may think about therapy. Yes, youll still focus on the specifics of your past trauma, but during EMDR sessions, youll recall your experience while your therapist performs some mechanical action like flashing a light, moving the hands, or creating sound. The goal is to reprocess how you think about your experience so it can become less painful and a more doable act. EMDR therapy typically requires 3 months of weekly 60 to 90-minute sessions.

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    The Use Of Common Data Elements For Ptsd Research

    A recent development to standardize the assessment and outcome measures that are used in PTSD research is to administer what are called Common Data Elements , or CDEs . When different measures are used across studies, it makes it difficult to interpret the findings. The use of CDEs helps allow for the comparison of findings across different research studies. A major benefit of research studies conducted as part of the STRONG STAR Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD is the use of CDEs for PTSD research . This strategy also increases the possible use of future metanalytic strategies to understand the impact of various psychotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of PTSD.

    Primary Care Ptsd Screen For Dsm

    PTSD Stressors for VA Disability Benefits Explained

    The Primary Care PTSD Screen for DSM-5 is a 5-item measure to screen for PTSD symptoms and was designed to be administered in primary care settings. The measure begins with one item to evaluate previous exposure to a potentially traumatic event. It then includes five additional yes-no items related to key PTSD symptoms. Validation studies suggest that a cut-off point of 3 on the PC-PTSD-5 is optimally sensitive for probable PTSD. Individuals who screen positive should be further evaluated with the PCL-5 or CAPS-5.

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    Take Care Of Your Body

    The symptoms of PTSD, such as insomnia, anger, concentration problems, and jumpiness, can be hard on your body and eventually take a toll on your overall health. Thats why its so important to take care of yourself.

    You may be drawn to activities and behaviors that pump up adrenaline, whether its caffeine, drugs, violent video games, driving recklessly, or daredevil sports. After being in a combat zone, thats what feels normal. But if you recognize these urges for what they are, you can make better choices that will calm and protect your bodyand your mind.

    Take time to relax.Relaxation techniques such as massage, meditation, or yoga can reduce stress, ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, help you sleep better, and increase feelings of peace and well-being.

    Find safe ways to blow off steam. Pound on a punching bag, pummel a pillow, go for a hard run, sing along to loud music, or find a secluded place to scream at the top of your lungs.

    Support your body with a healthy diet. Omega-3s play a vital role in emotional health so incorporate foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts into your diet. Limit processed and fried food, sugars, and refined carbs which can exacerbate mood swings and energy fluctuations.

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