Post-traumatic stress help available
By Jean Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org February 23, 2011 9:54AM
Jean Edwards, Over There columnist for The Herald-News
Updated: July 27, 2011 12:19AM
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is on the rise in our armed forces. About one in seven military personnel returns from deployment with symptoms of this anxiety disorder.
When a serviceman or woman comes home after serving overseas during wartime, he or she can experience more devastation than faced in a war zone.
The veteran might experience feelings of guilt after losing a comrade during battle, might feel no family support or have no job, or endure the loss of valuables or a loved one who was unfaithful or wants a divorce.
All of these challenges don’t help a person with PTSD. Many become depressed, not able to sleep, eat or cope with the general population. Some will even withdraw from others, go on drinking binges or use illegal drugs.
The most severe symptoms of PTSD are insomnia, nightmares, irritability, aggression, flashbacks, trouble concentrating and emotional numbness.
PTSD is a serious illness. If left untreated, PTSD can become detrimental to service members and their families.
When they return from deployment, service members are offered a mental evaluation. This can help diagnose PTSD.
The condition is treatable.
A doctor may prescribe anti-depression drugs. Others turn to spiritual healing — going to church, praying or speaking to a pastor or a clergy — which helps with PTSD.
Those who refuse a mental evaluation or fail to seek help are at the greatest risk. This is why the suicidal rate is on the rise for service members.
If you are in a crisis, options are available. You can call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime at 800-273- 8255. Press “1” after you call the number.
The Veterans Administration also provides a range of counseling, outreach and referral services. For the nearest center, call 800-905-4675 or 866-496-8838. There is help available.
Jean Edwards is looking for military personnel who will leave for or returning from a deployment. Send a photo and a brief write-up on your hometown hero. I can be reached at 815-439-5312 or email@example.com.