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What Does Ptsd Look Like In Veterans

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Veterans Day: What Does Ptsd Look Like In Veterans

Art therapy lets veterans reveal what their PTSD looks like

As long as there have been people and something to fight over, there has been war and combat. And as long as there has been war, the ones fighting have found themselves suffering from the long-lasting effects, even years after the battle has ended. Ancient descriptions of what we now know to be PTSD date all the way back to the dawn of civilization itself in Mesopotamia. Herodotos, ancient Greek scholar and the first historian, described an account of PTSD in the legendary Battle of Marathon.

Despite this condition remaining the scourge of those who have gone through something traumatic since antiquity, we have really only even begun to understand this condition in the last hundred years .

The condition has worn a number of names over the years, like shell shock, combat neurosis, post-traumatic stress disorder. But the symptoms remain familiar: avoidance, flashbacks, negative thinking, memory problems, trouble sleeping.

At Ketamine News, we try to shed light on the parts of mental health that an outsider might be unaware of. Anyone who suffers from any sort of mental health condition knows that its perhaps the small, minute details of your condition that paint the biggest picture of your overall feelings.

Avoiding Situations That Are Reminders Of The Event:

The Veteran may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event, and even avoid talking or thinking about the event. For example:

  • A person who was in an earthquake may avoid watching television shows or movies in which there are earthquakes.
  • A person who was robbed at gunpoint while ordering at a hamburger drive-in may avoid fast-food restaurants.
  • Some people may keep very busy or avoid seeking help. This keeps them from having to think or talk about the event.

Psychedelic Solutions For Ptsd Work

As veterans have increasingly sought solutions to PTSD outside of the medical mainstream, theyâve stepped into the psychedelic realm. For their courage, theyâve been rewarded. As Joseph Campbell says, âthe cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.âTony Macieâs well-known Reddit AMA has become of the most prominent and enduring testimonials for treating PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.Tony, a U.S. Army sergeant received an honorable medical discharge after spending 15 months in Iraq during the surge in 2006 and 2007. He participated in a MDMA clinical trial for his PTSD. Now, Tony is an advocate for the treatment. In Tonyâs words:

âAfter being accepted as a participant and receiving the treatment, I am proud to say that I am no longer on medications, I am able to more fully live my life, and my relationship with PTSD has changed completely.â

That says it all.

If youâre still not convinced by the effectiveness of psychedelic-assisted therapy for veterans, read on. Thereâs a theme here.

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After Taking Thousands Of Portraits Of Veterans In Their Daily Lives The 27

“From the beginning of the project, it was my mission to let veterans say whatever they want through my photographs,” Mitchell told BuzzFeed News. “Many people who do projects on veterans only want to take a particular angle. I want to explore all of the issues, all of the darkness.”

A photo from the newest series.

Ptsd In Veterans Recovery Step : Get Moving

This Jarring Photo Series Captures What PTSD Really Looks Like

Getting regular exercise has always been key for veterans with PTSD. As well as helping to burn off adrenaline, exercise can release endorphins and improve your mood. And by really focusing on your body as you exercise, you can even help your nervous system become unstuck and move out of the immobilization stress response.

Exercise that is rhythmic and engages both your arms and legssuch as running, swimming, basketball, or even dancingworks well if, instead of continuing to focus on your thoughts as you move, you focus on how your body feels.

Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. Many veterans with PTSD find that sports such as rock climbing, boxing, weight training, and martial arts make it easier to focus on your body movementsafter all, if you dont, you could injure yourself. Whatever exercise you choose, try to work out for 30 minutes or more each dayor if its easier, three 10-minute spurts of exercise are just as beneficial.

The benefits of the great outdoors

Pursuing outdoor activities in nature like hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing can help challenge your sense of vulnerability and help you transition back into civilian life.

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Different Traumatic Experiences Yield Different Results

The nature of the trauma and an individual’s biology, environment, and life history combine to predispose an individual to PTSD. For example, individuals who are sexually assaulted develop PTSD at much higher rates than individuals who experience other types of noncombat traumas . Moreover, PTSD symptoms are more severe in individuals who experience a particularly jarring or unexpected event, as shown in a study that collected information on the types of stressors identified by ambulance workers . One ambulance worker in this study reported witnessing dozens of distressing incidents on the job. Yet, his most severe PTSD symptoms and most frequent intrusive memories occurred after he found a dead baby in a bag. As part of his job, he reported mentally preparing for “routine” distressing events, but he never anticipated witnessing something this alarming without warning. He was completely taken off guard, and began questioning his sense of safety, trust, and fairness in the world. For reasons such as these, a traumatic event can be a watershed moment that creates a discontinuity between someone’s pre- and post-traumatic life. At its worst, the trauma will cause prolonged symptoms of PTSD that affect an individual’s day-to-day well-being.

Seek Help And Treatment From The Va And Other Military Resources

While friends and family can be helpful to veterans with PTSD, there are more advanced services and treatment options offered by the VA and other military organizations to help former service members facing this condition.

The VA offers extensive inpatient and outpatient treatment services across the U.S. These services can range from initial evaluations of potential PTSD and suggested treatment options to specialized health services, including substance abuse treatment, anger management treatment and programs for female veterans. The VA also offers various forms of therapy to veterans, including family therapy, in which friends and loved ones can participate. On the organizations website, the VA offers both a directory and a map that shows where PTSD resources are available by state.

There are additional resources like Outward Bound, an organization that provides wilderness courses and programs to build leadership and confidence among participants, which offers a specialized program for veterans. The Mission Continues is another organization that provides veterans leadership and advocacy opportunities in their local communities, helping give former service members a sense of purpose and aiding them in the transition to civilian life.

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Changes In Physical And Emotional Reactions

Sometimes referred to as arousal symptoms, these symptoms emerge in reaction to the trauma and include things like:

  • Easily startled
  • Feelings of detachment from friends and family
  • No interest in things that once brought you joy
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Emotional numbness
  • Memory problemseven difficulty remembering key details of your trauma

PTSD symptoms may come and go over time. Seeking treatment can help you recognize certain triggers so that you can manage the emotions they bring about if you cant avoid these triggers.

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What Does A Social Worker Do

Veteran has PTSD attack in middle of interview.

In most Canadian provinces, a Bachelor degree in Social Work is the minimum requirement for entry in the profession. Some social workers have a Masters or Doctoral degree. Their services may include psychotherapy. They work with individuals, couples, families, and groups. You can find a social worker in Operational Stress Injury Clinics and on the list of Veterans Affairs Canada registered service providers.

A social worker can help you with:

  • Practical challenges like finding employment, housing, and government benefits
  • Problems like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance use
  • Family and relationship difficulties
  • Finding resources in your community

Social workers cannot prescribe medications.

You can find a social worker:

  • Through a medical doctors referral in the public health care system or private self-referral
  • Through people you know
  • Through the VAC network of Operational Stress Injury Clinics
  • Through VAC registered service providers

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Prevention Of Ptsd In The Military

Military servicemen and -women and veterans can develop PTSD as a result of the events they experienced or witnessed. These can include trauma that occurred during combat or military sexual trauma , which includes sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurs during training, combat, or peacetime.

The estimated percentage of veterans affected by PTSD varies by war, as outlined by the VA:

  • Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom : between 11 and 20 percent
  • Gulf War: 12 percent
  • Vietnam War: between 15 and 30 percent

Nevertheless, a study published in June 2017 in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that PTSD affects veterans and active-duty military service members in similar ways.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have invested time and money on research and providing programs to help prevent military personnel from developing PTSD. These efforts include training civilians and veterans to tolerate stress more effectively, instituting treatment protocols after a diagnosis, and treating chronic PTSD, Dr. Berry says.

Treating And Coping With Trauma

Confronting and talking about one of the most shocking, disturbing experiences of an individual’s life is indisputably difficult. Seeking help takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. Yet there are several treatments available, like Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy, that have been shown in research studies to ameliorate PTSD symptoms, making treatment a worthwhile investment.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy is the gold-standard for PTSD treatment. Generally PE consists of 10-15 therapy sessions. The two core components of PE are imaginal exposures and in vivo exposures . Other components of PE include processing of the imaginal exposure experience, education about common reactions to trauma, and anxiety management .

Cognitive Processing Therapy is another empirically supported treatment for PTSD. CPT targets irrational thinking and cognitive distortions in therapy to help patients process their trauma memories. The four main components of CPT are learning about your PTSD symptoms, becoming aware of thoughts and feelings, learning skills to manage the thoughts and feelings, and understanding the changes in beliefs that occur because of the trauma. In CPT, patients will write out their trauma narrative and work with a therapist to uncover cognitive distortions. Self-blame and feeling powerless against all danger are two common examples of distorted thinking.

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What Does Ptsd Feel Like

Although experiencing PTSD is different for everyone, some people have noted they experience feeling pain or pressure in their body, even if theres nothing physically there. Experiencing PTSD can also include experiencing the same emotions felt during the traumatic event, such as fear, horror, or distress. Panic attacks, nightmares, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing also can indicate PTSD.

Understanding A Veteran With Ptsd

This Is What PTSD Really Looks Like

Servicemen and women oftentimes face unique challenges when leaving active duty and readjusting to civilian life.

As explained by U.S. Veterans Magazine, these challenges include

  • discovering ways to re-establish their roles within the family,
  • having to find and obtain a civilian job ,
  • and adjusting to a life that involves making their own choices versus being told what to do, how to do it, and when.

However, sometimes soldiers also return home with challenges related to their mental wellbeing as a result of what theyve witnessed while on active duty. And one of the most common mental challenges is post-traumatic stress disorder .

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Va Disability Compensation For Ptsd

Posttraumatic stress can happen after someone goes through a traumatic event such as combat, an assault, or a disaster. Most people have some stress reactions following trauma. But if the reactions dont go away over time or they disrupt your life, you may have posttraumatic stress disorder . Find out if you can get disability compensation or benefits if you have symptoms of PTSD.

What Does Ptsd Look Like In Children

As in adults, PTSD in children and adolescence requires the presence of re-experiencing, avoidance and numbing, and arousal symptoms. However, researchers and clinicians are beginning to recognize that PTSD may not present itself in children the same way it does in adults. Criteria for PTSD include age-specific features for some symptoms.

Elementary school-aged children

Clinical reports suggest that elementary school-aged children may not experience visual flashbacks or amnesia for aspects of the trauma. However, they do experience “time skew” and “omen formation,” which are not typically seen in adults.

Time skew refers to a child mis-sequencing trauma-related events when recalling the memory. Omen formation is a belief that there were warning signs that predicted the trauma. As a result, children often believe that if they are alert enough, they will recognize warning signs and avoid future traumas.

School-aged children also reportedly exhibit posttraumatic play or reenactment of the trauma in play, drawings, or verbalizations. Posttraumatic play is different from reenactment in that posttraumatic play is a literal representation of the trauma, involves compulsively repeating some aspect of the trauma, and does not tend to relieve anxiety.

An example of posttraumatic play is an increase in shooting games after exposure to a school shooting. Posttraumatic reenactment, on the other hand, is more flexible and involves behaviorally recreating aspects of the trauma .

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Where Can I Find More Information On Ptsd

The National Center for PTSD, a program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is the leading federal center for research and education on PTSD and traumatic stress. You can find information about PTSD, treatment options, and getting help, as well as additional resources for families, friends, and providers.

How Long Does Ptsd Last For

6 Hidden Signs of Complex PTSD (cPTSD) | MedCircle

The course of the illness will vary from person to person, and event to event. Some people recover within six months, while others have symptoms that last much longer, and PTSD can become chronic.

As with most mental illness, PTSD is intensely personal and no two cases are the same.

The length of time a person can experience post-traumatic stress disorder varies, says Dr Kriegeskotten.

When PTSD is not treated, it can last a very long time, perhaps a lifetime. For others, the symptoms can fade over time, but increase again on an anniversary or at a triggering time in their life.

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What Is Complex Ptsd

The main symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD are the same. Complex PTSD is sometimes known as c-PTSD, or CPTSD. If you have complex PTSD, you may have extra symptoms such as:

  • issues with keeping a relationship,
  • finding it difficult to feel connected to other people,
  • a belief that you are worthless with deep feelings of shame, guilt or failure that can be related to the trauma, and
  • difficulty controlling your emotions.

Youre more likely to develop complex PTSD if your trauma has been an ongoing event. Or series of different traumatic events. The trauma might be very threatening or frightening. Most commonly from a trauma which you werent able to escape from such as:

  • torture,
  • a long period of domestic abuse, or
  • a long period of sexual or physical abuse as a child or adult.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that some people develop after a traumatic life event. Usually, this life event is something very upsetting or disturbing, such as combat, a natural disaster, a car accident or sexual assault. Sometimes PTSD develops after less significant events. The effect that this event has on an individual and their reaction to it plays a fundamental role in the development of PTSD.

Living with PTSD can make a person feel constantly uneasy, on-edge, scared and depressed. The symptoms of PTSD affect each person differently. However, there are some side effects and common features that are worth considering when trying to understand what PTSD feels like.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd

PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.

There are 4 types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be exactly the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.

  • Reliving the event . Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. They can feel very real and scary. For example:
  • You may have nightmares.
  • You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
  • You may see, hear, or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing fireworks are examples of triggers.
  • Avoiding things that remind you of the event. You may try to avoid situations or people remind you of the trauma event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event. For example:
  • You may avoid crowds, because they feel dangerous.
  • You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
  • If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
  • You may keep very busy or avoid getting help so you don’t have to think or talk about the event.
  • You may feel numbunable to have positive or loving feelings toward other peopleand lost interest in things you used to enjoy.
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