Veteran Traumas and how best to Help

After applying for DD214 online and receiving the document, it could be easy to think that the veteran has left everything to do with their service behind.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many veterans suffer with mental illness after returning from duty and this affects everyone, including the service members and their families.

It is entirely possible that some people may not experience some of these symptoms until a few years after leaving the armed forces. They may also delay seeking help for several reasons, such as thinking that they can cope, fear of criticism or feeling that therapists will not understand.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is perhaps the most infamous mental health problem veterans face after returning from duty.  more

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Hearing Voices: PTSD and Auditory Hallucinations

Hallucinations and Combat Veterans with PTSD

Among combat veterans with PTSD30-40% report auditory hallucinations(AH). AH are more frequent in combat veterans with chronic PTSD and it has been suggested that this may reflect a distinct subtype of PTSD that may be under recognized for two reasons: first, patients are reluctant to report AH and, second, more emphasis has, traditionally, been placed on the intrusive images associated with PTSD and less on intrusive auditory hallucinations.

It is important to recognize that such patients do not have the overt changes in affect or bizarre delusions characteristic of other psychoses e.g. schizophrenia.  AH in PTSD appears to be seen more in veterans with higher combat exposure and more intense PTSD symptoms and who report more severe symptoms of hyperarousal. The AH are typically: ego-dystonic; contribute to an increases sense of isolation and shame; associated with feelings of lack of controllability; consist of combat-related themes and guilt; non bizarre; not associated with thought disorders and, overall, more refractory to treatment interventions.  more

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How I Live With PTSD, An Invisible Illness Most People Don’t Know I Have

I don’t let very many people into my apartment. It’s partially because I’m an introvert and like my alone time, but it’s mostly because I struggle to maintain a level of cleanliness fit for company. There are usually a couple dirty dishes lying around, I haven’t vacuumed in a while, throw blankets are tossed haphazardly onto the couch. I keep a very “lived in” space compared to my more put-together friends. It’s an image that is totally at odds with what people see when I’m out in public, which is this powerhouse of a woman who’s totally got her life together. But both people are me; I just have PTSD, an invisible illness that can sometimes make everyday tasks too overwhelming to handle.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is most commonly associated with military veterans, but anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event can develop the condition, according to Mayo Clinic. Dr. Shainna Ali, licensed mental health counselor, educator, and clinical supervisor, tells Bustle that trauma itself is subjective, meaning that something might be traumatic for one person but not traumatic for another person. For me, that traumatic experience was repeated sexual assault when I was a teenager.  more

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Group treatment reduces veterans’ PTSD symptom severity

Both group cognitive behavioral treatment and group present-centered treatment reduced PTSD symptom severity in veterans with PTSD, according to study findings.

“Relative to individual treatment approaches, there has been much less research conducted on PTSD group treatments,” Denise M. Sloan, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and behavioral science division associate director at the National Center for PTSD, and colleagues wrote. “The majority of studies investigating PTSD group treatment have used an open trial design, which provides limited information about treatment efficacy.”    more

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Vets helping vets: Tackling mental health issues, one difficult conversation at a time

You can wave an American flag, put a bumper sticker on your car or tie a yellow ribbon around an old oak tree, but a difficult conversation about mental health with a veteran could actually save a life.

In a divisive time in the United States, almost all politicians and civilians can find common ground when it comes to supporting the troops. Yet, veterans are still dying daily due to a lack of mental health services.

In 2016, 6,079 veterans died by suicide across the country, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Seventy of those deaths occurred n Indiana, and more than half of those veterans were 55 or older.  more

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Navy Sexual Assault Survivor Gets Discharge Upgrade

A Connecticut Navy veteran who was sexually assaulted while serving in Japan has been awarded an honorable discharge after she challenged the “bad paper” discharge status she had been given.

Bianca Cruz successfully defended her Navy record in an appeal to the Naval Discharge Review Board, which concluded that “she served honorably as evidenced by no punitive items in her record.” She was separated from the Navy in 2015 with a general (under honorable conditions) discharge, started the appeal process the next year and filed her appeal in November 2017. The board ruled Aug. 7 and notified her by email Sept. 17.

Cruz, 24, of North Branford, was assaulted in 2014 while serving on a ship in Japan. She reported the assault, was transferred to South Carolina to get away from her attacker who was also a sailor, attempted suicide, and was ultimately discharged with a status of general (under honorable conditions).  more

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‘Cry Havoc!’: Onstage ‘Personal Journey’ Portrays Need to Help Vets ‘Un-wire from War’

Army veteran Stephan Wolfert will present “Cry Havoc,” the story of his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder during performances and workshops that begin tonight at Fort Greely and continue into the weekend in Fairbanks. Wolfert’s a classically trained actor who says he found relief from PTSD on stage, especially when performing Shakespeare.

“Now is the winter of our discontent …”

That’s the opening line from Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” the story of the conniver who became King of England after murdering and imprisoning his rivals. It’s not an uplifting story, but Stephan Wolfert says seeing it at a low point in his life helped inspire him to pick up the pieces, turn himself around and tell his story, on stage.

“It’s a personal journey from being in the military, having a horrific experience after the first Gulf War was over – a buddy of mine was killed in training at Fort Irwin, California. I lost it – I can say that now – I didn’t know what was going on,” he said in an interview with New York public-radio member station WSKG.  more

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Men won’t talk about depression, and it’s literally killing them

Men are less likely than women to discuss mental health issues and far more likely to attempt suicide. Can mobile apps help men save their own lives?

Meet John.
John* is in his 40s. He’s extremely successful and runs his own business, borne from decades of experience in his field. That business provides for his family.

John has a beautiful wife, four beautiful children, a beautiful home.
John also has depression.

The last six years, he says, contained some of the blackest days of his life. John kept quiet. This was a conscious decision. A business decision. “Nothing scares clients or investors quicker than the smell of desperation,” he says. “Saying anything about mental health is dangerous.”  more

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