Hundreds of thousands of United States veterans are not able to leave the horrors of war on the battlefield (“Forever at War: Veterans Everyday Battles with PTSD” 1). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the reason why these courageous military service members cannot live a normal life when they are discharged. One out of every five military service members on combat tours—about 300,000 so far—return home with symptoms of PTSD or major depression. According to the Rand Study, almost half of these cases go untreated because of the disgrace that the military and civil society attach to mental disorders (McGirk 1). The general population of the world has to admit that they have had a nightmare before. Imagine not being able to sleep one
Over the last decade, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have drastically increased the need for effective mental health services and treatment for U.S. veterans and service members, especially those suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Nearly 1.5 million American service members have been deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) since the attack on the Twin Towers in September 2001 (Price, Gros, Strachan, Ruggiero, & Acierno, 2013). Approximately 25% of soldiers and wounded warriors returning home from OEF/OIF present with mental illness due to combat-related violence and other trauma exposure (Steinberg & Eisner, 2015). According to Price and colleagues (2013), OEF/OIF soldiers and veterans are at greater risk for developing mental illness compared to others who served in past military operations.
This paper explores post-traumatic stress and how it is seen as a disorder. Post-traumatic stress can manifest into post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Sareen (2014), Post-traumatic stress disorder is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5 as having 4 core features that are as follows. First, the person must witness or experience a stressful event. Secondly, the person or persons would re-experience symptoms of the event that include nightmares and/or flashbacks. The person or persons would also have hyper arousal symptoms, such as concentrations problems, irritability, and sleep disturbance. The final core feature dictates
There is concern about military service members receiving stigma about getting or needing treatment in the area of mental health. Stigma occurs when individuals view others negatively because they have been labeled or identified as having a deviant behavior against societal norms; deviant behaviors such as mental illnesses or diagnoses uncommon or harmful to others. How does that impact the military? Military men and women alike are termed heroes, warriors, and survivors; this is quite the reputation to keep up. Military members go to war or deploy to hostile combat environments, which many come back with severe mental illnesses and diagnosis that need immediate care. At this point they may not feel like a hero. The terms psychological, mentally ill, PTSD, and behavioral health has gained a reputation as having or being a problem. Being labeled a problem is not what service members want. Many studies are trying to pinpoint the problem and resolve the stereotypes associated with getting treatment. Consequently, an individual’s attitude toward mental health treatment is thought to be affected by other people’s views on mental health care (Held & Owens, 2012).
Today, hundreds of thousands of service men and women and recent military veterans have seen combat. Many have been shot at, seen their buddies killed, or witnessed death up close. These are types of events that can lead to Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder ("Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD: A Growing Epidemic. “) Anyone that has gone through a traumatic event can be diagnosed with PTSD but research shows, military men and women are more susceptible to having PTSD (PTSD: A Growing Epidemic.) And, with little help from the US, many Veterans do not get the help they need or get treated for PTSD. Military men and women begin to
Spitalnick, Josh. Difede, JoAnn. Rizzo, Albert. O. Rothbaum, Barbara. “Emerging treatments for PTSD” Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 29, Issue 8, December 2009, Pages 715-726, ISSN 0272-7358, Web. 21 April 2016
The freedoms Americans enjoy come at a price; brave military men and women often foot the bill. Many men and women pay with their lives; others relive the sights, sounds, and terror of combat in the form of PTSD. Several causes and risk factors contribute to the development of PTSD. Combat-related PTSD appears slightly different than traditional PTSD. History tells of times when soldiers diagnosed with PTSD were viewed as “weak.” Resources have not always been available to struggling soldiers. The adverse symptoms of PTSD on soldiers and their families can be crippling.
Rates of trauma and mental illness are reported to be disproportionately higher among American veterans, especially those of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The barriers to care after civilian reentry further disadvantage this already vulnerable population. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the longest sustained US military operations since the Vietnam era, sending more than 2.2 million troops into battle and resulting in more than 6,600 deaths and 48,000 injuries. Veterans are at risk mental health challenges, as well as family instability, elevated rates of homelessness, and joblessness. Veterans have disproportionate rates of mental illness, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse disorders, depression, anxiety, and military sexual trauma.
According to Connor, Jones, Watts, Shiner, and Stecker (2013), “[o]nly about one quarter of active duty troops with psychiatric disorders actually receive treatment services” (p. 280).These researchers conducted a study using a qualitative analysis method by means of an intensive cognitive-behavioral telephone interview lasting approximately forty-five to fifty minutes. The participants consisted of approximately 300 service members who were recruited within a three year time frame, beginning in November 2009 and ending in January 2012. The makeup of the participants included: 84% percent male, 67% Caucasian, 13% African Americans, and 9% Latinos. The sample identified participants from forty-eight to fifty states including veterans from all branches of military service. Research findings revealed four primary reasons veterans do not seek treatment for PTSD symptoms: concerns about treatment (40%), emotional readiness for treatment (35%), stigma (16%), and logical issues (8%) (p. 282-283). Overall, the research concludes that if there is an increase in veterans seeking treatment for PTSD after serving military time then the primary care physician should emphasize to the veterans upfront certain expectations. These expectations include
Future Research: Effective treatments for PTSD and depression exist, yet there are disparities in how these treatments are being geographically/regionally dispersed. Above, we highlighted key challenges: veterans’ perceptions of the negative consequences of seeking care; inadequate availability of mental health professionals; diverse and often competing mental health specialties and training approaches that inadequately prepare many practitioners to deliver evidence-based treatments for combat-related disorders or to understand military experience (Burnam et. al, 2009); and limited dissemination and implementation of QI strategies in mental health care settings . Overcoming these obstacles will require federal, state, and local leadership.
In the past, veterans who disclosed suffering from signs of PTSD encountered a great deal of ignorance and bias. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (n.d.), veterans who had the illness were often considered weak, were rejected by comrades, and even faced discharge from military service. In fact, even physicians and mental health specialists often questioned the existence of the disease, which of course led to society’s misconception of PTSD in general. Sadly because of this existing prejudice it appears even today soldiers are still worried to admit having PTSD symptoms, and therefore they do not receive the proper support they need. While individuals are assured that their careers will not be affected, and seeking help is encouraged, most soldiers see it as a failure to admit having a mental health illness (Zoroya, 2013). Educating military personal of this illness, and making sure no blame is put on the veterans who encounter this disease is therefore vital.
To effectively treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD in combat Veterans and service members, therapists use different techniques, which are preceded by addressing any underlying pain associated with the disorder. In their research, Chard et al. (2011) reported significant modifications to the CPT protocol for use with patients in a TBI-PTSD residential treatment facility, including increasing the number of sessions per week, combining group and individual therapy, and augmenting the treatment with cognitive rehabilitation. However, their research was marred with the use of few participants which provides doubts regarding the outcome of the proposed treatment procedures. Moreover, the researchers do not state with certainty as to the
As the Vietnam War began preventative measures were being taken to decrease the psychological impact of war on soldiers. Unfortunately as the war ended soldiers were often met with hostile demonstrations by anti-war activists and society offered little acceptance of Vietnam veterans even years after the war. This is when early studies on PTSD and the effects on military families began being documented. Early research showed that PTSD can have devastating, far-reaching consequences on the patients functioning, relationships,
Introduction: American society often forgets that not all scars from combat are visible. People like to focus on supporting veterans that are missing limbs or can’t walk, rather than recognizing there are unseen injuries too. Today, at least 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, np), and because society stigmatizes mental disorders, many Veterans with PTSD don’t seek help. PTSD is a serious anxiety disorder. Around 31 percent of Vietnam Veterans are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (U.S National Department of Medicine, np). Those who suffer from it can have panic attacks triggered from things that seem normal to the average person, and it is for that reason that preventative information needs to be spread to help decrease the factors
If veterans do struggle with PTSD after they return from combat the Department of Veterans Affairs, a governmental agency that helps struggling veterans recover, offers two treatments. Studies have been done to see if one of the therapies is more effective than the other. There is not yet evidence that one therapy is better than the other. Cognitive processing therapy, CPT, helps by giving the vet a new way to deal with the maladaptive thoughts that come with PTSD. It also comforts them in gaining a new understanding of the traumatic events that happened to them. One of the other benefits of CPT is that it assists the person in learning how these disturbing events change the way they look at everything in life and helps them cope with that (“PTSD: National”). The second newer option of the two is prolonged exposure therapy, which is repeated exposure to these thoughts, feelings, and situations (“Most PTSD”). This type of therapy is now a central piece in the VA’s war on PTSD. “The problem with prolonged exposure is that it also has made a number of veterans violent, suicidal, and depressed, and it has a dropout rate that some researchers put at more than 50 percent, the highest dropout rate of any PTSD therapy that has been widely studied so far,”(“Trauma Post”). Both of the therapies are proven to reduce the symptoms but both have extremely high drop out rates and low follow through. It