What is Combat PTSD?
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is an anxiety disorder that many people develop after exposure to a traumatic event—either as a victim, a witness or a rescuer. A traumatic event is an event that is perceived and experienced as a threat to one's own or another person's safety or life. In essence, the person experiencing PTSD gets mentally and emotionally "stuck" in the traumatic event, making a normal life impossible. PTSD usually shows itself in the weeks or months immediately following the traumatic event(s). If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, Get Confidential Help Here.
Military PTSD is PTSD at its extreme. This severity is due to the soldier's multiple experiences in violent conflicts, both as victims, and rescuers of their fellow soldiers. Our Combat Soldiers experience multiple traumatic events repeatedly for months at a time, and over multiple deployments. Essentially, our troops are experiencing continuous traumatic events over a period of YEARS! It is impossible to experience the levels of violence that our veterans experience and not be adversely affected. The two variables involved are the degree to which each soldier is affected, and when they will begin to show effects of PTSD. The answers to those questions are personal, individual, and impossible to predict. Our returning Combat Veterans need our support and friendship when they return, so someone is there to help them when it happens. An emotional response to trauma cannot be "trained" out of a person. It is impossible! If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
As you can see from the photo, PTSD and TBI are often associated, and it can be difficult to distinguish one problem from the other and each of these problems easily aggravates the other. Therefore, VIP works to treat both issues together. NFL TBI studies have clearly documented that TBIs interfere with impulse control and anger management. The NFL has made tremendous progress treating TBIs with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Operation: I.V. has chosen to embrace this treatment because of its success rate in treating various ailments. Please visit the Traumatic Brain Injury page (TBI) to learn more.
PTSD most common signs:
Flashbacks – During a flashback, the person mentally relives the trauma all over again as if it were currently happening, often, multiple times a day. When this happens, the person is not mentally "in the moment" as someone without PTSD experiences it. They are in their own mind, transported back to the traumatic event, experiencing it as if it were currently taking place. During a flashback, many people will physically act out as if they are at the trauma scene in real-time, including attacking or killing those around them or themselves. Many, many soldiers take their lives during flashbacks—both while awake and asleep. If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
Night Terrors/Night Sweats – This is the nighttime version of a flashback. The person wakes up terrified, because in their mind, the event is happening live. Many soldiers have reportedly attacked their partners during a night terror. As with flashbacks, many military PTSD suicides occur during a night terror, and end with the combat veterans shooting themselves.
Hyper–Vigilance – The person is nervous, jumpy and visibly uncomfortable most of the time. This occurs because, as described above, their sense of personal safety is completely gone! Imagine how you would act if you never felt safe in any environment.
Triggers – These are normal, everyday things that happen in our environments that cause a combat veteran to have an anxiety escalation. These escalations can be triggered by normal everyday experiences including: train whistles, the noise associated with dropping something, walking too close to the veteran, and other similar occurrences. Some triggers are as obvious as very loud noises, gun shots, or being physically attacked. However, many normal, everyday activities and noises are also triggers for a veteran. The uncertainty surrounding the cause of a trigger generates a great deal of anxiety and thus, creates problems for the combat veteran and anyone in his/her proximity and/or life. This is where PTSD service dogs can be of assistance. The service dog is trained to sense the anxiety of its owner, often before the veteran or anyone around them knows anything is wrong. The service dog will begin to "de-escalate" the Combat Vet's anxiety well before the anxiety gets to a dangerous level, both while the Veteran is awake and asleep!
Severe Depression – Because their minds repeatedly play "recordings" of the traumatic experiences of war, veterans are often overcome with depression and feelings of guilt to the point that they have no desire to live. Many believe they don't deserve to. This mental exertion and lack of personal safety associated with thoughts serving in a violent environment, and things they may or may not have done allows severe depression to take hold of a person with military PTSD.
Loss of Executive Functioning – Executive functioning is the ability to "plan and execute" your life and make good choices. The uncontrollably high anxiety levels combat veterans experience interrupts their thought processes and interferes with their good judgment. Simple things like scheduling and keeping appointments become next to impossible for a veteran with PTSD. Poor judgment has become so prevalent in cases of veterans with PTSD that "Veterans Courts" have been instituted in many states as a means of rehabilitating veterans through goal-setting and supervision. Watch below as a judge who personally experienced combat PTSD recalls his own story! If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
The Human Survival Instinct – The will to live is innate. This feeling is not something a person can control, and it is very strong—for good reason! At some point in your life, you have undoubtedly experienced the survival instinct kick in and are familiar with its strength. Can you imagine being able to personally override your own survival instinct? Imagine what kind of emotional state you would have to be in to take your own life? If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
The "Why" of Military PTSD Suicide
Combat soldiers are required to do things in war that we as civilians would never dream of doing, or allowing in our society. To protect themselves, soldiers are required to ensure enemy combatants are dead, and kill women and children when necessary. The rules we live by in society do not apply in military conflicts. As a result, combat veterans begin to feel guilty about the people they killed during their service. This guilt, in addition to flashbacks and night terrors often makes them believe their acts are inhumane and unforgivable—both by society and God—and that they must be some kind of "monster" to have done what they’ve done. It is in these moments they conclude that they are unworthy to live. This is simply untrue. Our returning veterans are worthy human beings! If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
Soldiers are taking their lives because they DO value human life! Psychopaths and Murderers don't have PTSD
Why do some people say suicide is a selfish act?
Suicide is a difficult topic for many people, and is not widely talked about in America. Anger is one of the stages of grief, and for many people, the easiest and most comfortable place to stay. Anger is considered an acceptable emotion, especially for men, while deep and continuing grief is a difficult one. Blaming the deceased also allows the survivor to keep from feeling guilty and thinking: I should have known or I should have done something to stop this. Then they are not forced to deal with their guilt.Suicide is not a selfish act. It is an action taken out of extreme pain and suffering. If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
PTSD Military Suicide Prevention
With the right help, a good number of military PTSD suicides are without a doubt preventable! Early treatment and on-going support is absolutely essential! The VIP is designed to interrupt the anxiety escalations of PTSD (flashbacks, night terrors, and triggers) that lead to suicide. Military PTSD doesn't have to ruin a combat veterans' life. Join us today to save a soldier's life. Your donation will fund private medical care and other resources for individual combat veterans, community PTSD education, and our efforts to change military policies. If you are a Returning Combat Veteran, get confidential help here.
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If you or someone you know is a returning combat veteran in need of assistance with PTSD or a TBI, please click on the link below to apply for VIP. All information is kept confidential.
Together we can help bring "peace" back to the Men and Women who are suffering with PTSD. They deserve help and without yours, they may never get it! Give of yourself, your time, your profession or your finances. A gift of $100 is suggested.
Operation:I.V.,Inc is a 501c3 tax exempt organization founded to provide effective treatment services to Combat Veterans effected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Your generous donations are tax deductible.