Flanagan High SchoolResearch on Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSanaia JohnsonEnglish 2Mr. SchillingDecember 13, 2017Abstract A veteran is a person who has served in the military for the United States and they typically develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Veterans develop this condition by seeing the most horrific things while fighting wars. We as a society do not do enough for the mentally disabled veterans. We have come to realize over 540,000 veterans have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is imperative that we give back to the veterans in our country. Since they have offered to fight for America willingly, the least we can do is provide for them after they come back from risking their lives for our country. I personally have two family members who have been in the military, one used to be in the Navy and one is currently in the Army. It would be disheartening to find out that one of them had PTSD. Just like how I would want my family’s mental state to be stable, I would want the people who risk their lives for this country’s mental state to be stable as well. What I want people to take from this information is to want help with finding more ways to treat veterans and active military members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered by either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. A few of the symptoms that may occur in PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. PTSD is also referred to as Battle Fatigue since the condition is commonly found in war veterans and made people more aware of the disorder. Battle fatigue was formally defined during World War II, and this is a psychological disorder that materializes in some individuals who have had major traumatic experiences. Many of these experiences have been specified as a serious accident while battling or being in the trenches of war. The individual is typically numb at first but later has symptoms including depression, excessive irritability, guilt (due to remaining while others have passed on), recurrent nightmares, flashbacks due to traumatic events, and over-reacting to sudden movements and noises. Although, PTSD is generally founded in veterans, it can be found in normal everyday people who have had a nerve racking experience, for instance earthquakes. PTSD can occur at any age and women are affected by the condition more so than men. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, 11 percent of Afghanistan veterans, and 20 percent of the veterans of Iraq (medlineplus.gov). There are five main types of PTSD, Normal Stress Response, Acute Stress Disorder, Uncomplicated PTSD, Comorbid PTSD, and Complex PTSD (psychcentral.com). Normal Stress Response is when an adult who has experienced a traumatic event in adulthood and the symptoms are intense bad memories and emotional numbing. Individuals who have Normal Stress Response can be treated in a matter of weeks. The symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder is responding in panic, insomnia, suspicion, and the inability to provide for one’s self or work. Uncomplicated PTSD symptoms are the person experiencing the traumatic event repeatedly, anything that has affiliation with the trauma is avoided, the person is emotionally numb, and arousal increases. Comorbid PTSD can be categorized with other psychiatric disorders and is more common than Uncomplicated PTSD. PTSD is usually associated with at least one other major psychiatric disorder such as depression, alcohol or substance abuse, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders (psychcentral.com). The fifth type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD, or Disorder of Extreme Stress, are commonly found in people who’s trauma was in an extended period of their life. An example of Complex PTSD would be childhood sexual abuse. Individuals with Complex PTSD are often diagnosed with many other disorders, such as Antisocial Personality Disorder, and have a difficult time behaving. There are a variety of symptoms that individuals with PTSD will present with in their lifetime. Some of the symptoms may develop years after the traumatic event, but they generally start three months after the traumatic experience. In order to be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the symptoms must last for more than one month. One of the most common symptoms that individuals with PTSD might have is the inability to sleep peacefully and they might flinch or jump because they get scared at sudden sounds. Flashbacks are another symptom that occur very often in a person that battles with PTSD. A door slamming shut or a car backfiring are both common triggers of flashbacks. As stated before, the individual diagnosed with PTSD might become emotionally numb, or may not enjoy activities like they did once before. Also, the individual might have violent outbursts and the anniversary of the incident will be challenging to handle.What Is the Cause of PTSD? As of right now there are no definite answers on what the cause of PTSD is, but scientists are aware of what can lead to an individual developing PTSD. Things that can lead to PTSD are being kidnapped, car accidents, natural disasters, violent attacks, being held captive, or in a veterans’ case being a Prisoner of War. Witnessing any of these events can also lead to the development of PTSD, for example veterans who have been shot at or who have seen one of their colleagues being killed right in front of them. To find explanations on the causes of PTSD, scientists study how the mind is affected by traumatic experiences (psychcentral.com). The researchers have a theory that the individual is so overwhelmed and traumatized that the brain is incapable of processing the incident and how to feel. Scientists say that pre-traumatic psychological factors, like low self esteem caused by rape, has a possibility to impair the reprocessing of the incident. Some researchers have hypothesized that once the individual is successful with processing the traumatic event(s) the PTSD symptoms decrease.Scientists have discovered that there is a hormonal system, called Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA), that is disrupted in individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (psychcentral.com). According to research, these organs and their interactions constitute the HPA axis, and it is a major neuroendocrine system that controls how the brain reacts to stress, regulates the body, and the processes of the body. This includes but is not limited to digestion, the function of the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, energy storage as well as expenditure. The HPA system participates in the normal stress reactions within the body. Scientists see the disruption as an alarm and supposedly medication reverses the neurochemical dysfunction in PTSD. Conclusively, one day it might be possible to determine the cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For female veterans another cause of PTSD can be sexual assault. It is called Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and men can also be affected by MST. MST is any sexual activity where a service member is held against his or her will, such as insulting sexual comments, unwanted sexual advances or even sexual assault(ptsd.va.gov). After experiencing MST, many women feel depressed, and they have a displace of trust with others. The manner in which the victim is treated after informing someone about their MST determines the effects and the severity of the symptoms of MST. MST symptoms are defined as depression, health complications, anxiety, poor relationships, poor sexual relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, humiliation, psychological damage and strain, problems at their place of employment, PTSD, guilt, shame, and nightmares.Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder manifests itself differently for each individual. Some people can recover within a few months, while others’ symptoms can affect them for several years. One form of treatment is a group debriefing. Group debriefings makes the person describe their incident in detail while they hear others’ incidents as well. This type of treatment is very effective for Normal Stress Response PTSD. Medication and supportive psychotherapy are also methods of treatment. People with PTSD can get treatment from a behavioral health facility, mental health professional with experience in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, like a psychologist or a therapist. Family members can help when their loved one comes back from the military with PTSD as well. If the person seems distant or angry, do not internalize it or take it to heart, these are merely experiencing symptoms of PTSD. The individual is not trying to be distant nor is the person angry at you specifically. Second, pressuring the person into talking does not help the situation. It is going to be hard for the veteran to talk about their experience, the most you can do is comfort the former soldier. Being patient and understanding with your loved one is helpful as well. The best thing for a family member of a veteran with PTSD to do is locate a support group in their area that helps with Veterans of PTSD or PTSD in general. They may also have meetings and/or Home Groups in the area much like substance abuse groups. Family members can also locate support groups for themselves to gain a better understanding of the diagnoses, and this will assist the family member with being able to carefully deal with their loved one. The family member can locate a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and a Therapist that is attached to their VA benefits or insurance company. This will enable the veteran to obtain psychotropic medications that will assist them with overcoming insomnia, nightmares, and/or flashbacks. One of the common psychotropic medications that are used to assist people with PTSD is Prazosin. Prazosin is a psychotropic medication that blocks some of the effects of adrenaline released in your body. This in turn helps the individual with reducing their nightmares and insomnia that comes about with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. An individual can speak with their doctor about the benefits associated and the side effects that may come along with taking prazosin.Do We Do Enough For Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? We as a society do not do enough for the veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are many veterans still suffering from PTSD. However, many of the veterans do not seek out help for their issues with PTSD. Some of the veterans suffer in silence and develop all sorts of health issues from abusing narcotics or substances to cope with this diagnoses. Often times, the family members will try to do everything that they can to assist their loved ones to no avail. As previously mentioned, and individual has to actively participate in their healing process to overcome PTSD. Veterans have different programs that they are afforded to assist them with various issues that come along with being a veteran and trying to reestablish themselves in the civilian world. Veterans can go to the VA to inform them of their obstacles and issues that arise after coming home from the military. The veterans have very good benefits and get the majority of their needs handled at the VA office. Some veterans never address their issues with PTSD which causes a downward spiral to happen in their lives. This also results in the veteran becoming very ill, losing everything, and becoming homeless.What More Should We Do For Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?Per Veteran Affairs, if you served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. The veterans or active military members have access to health benefits, financial benefits, their families get certain benefits, they can obtain behavioral health treatment, as well as community resources. With Veteran Affairs, they are able to get inpatient hospitalization, access to primary or specialty clinics, access to community based outpatient clinic, a community living center (nursing home), and/or a residential care facility. The VA has a national PTSD Program for veterans to utilize, and it has almost 200 PTSD treatment programs across the country that offers services. The veteran’s family members can contact the National Center for PTSD and start the process to receive services. Based on my research, I have learned that their a various programs and resources that can assist a veteran or military member. The information and the programs are out there that can assist these individuals. However, the individual and/or family member has to reach out for help to assist their loved one with the healing and the restoration process. Sometimes the PTSD is manageable and the individual can handle it once returning with very little help. Sometimes the PTSD is so severe that the individual needs a lot of help to assist them with healing from the traumatic experiences and events. In the words of Kris Carr, if you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days.Conclusion/Outcome What I want people to take from this information is to reach out for help with finding more ways to treat veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Barbara Rothbaum believes current research is leading to better treatment of PTSD, and may one day help to prevent it (medlineplus.gov). I want for PTSD to be one of the first psychiatric illness to be understood from molecule to mind with rational treatments translated from bench to bedside(www.bbrfoundation.org(Kerry Ressler)).Cited Works”Ptsd in vietnam vets – Video Search Engine at Search.Com.” Search.com, www.search.com/video/ptsd-in-vietnam-vetsDekel, Rachel, et al. “Being a Wife of a Veteran with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder*.” Family Relations, vol. 54, no. 1, 2005, pp. 24–36., doi:10.1111/j.0197-6664.2005.00003.xJohnson, David Read, and Hadar Lubin. “Treatment preferences of vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 10, no. 3, 1997, pp. 391–405., doi:10.1002/jts.2490100305Davidson, Collin L., et al. “The Impact of Exercise on Suicide Risk: Examining Pathways through Depression, PTSD, and Sleep in an Inpatient Sample of Veterans.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, vol. 43, no. 3, 2013, pp. 279–289., doi:10.1111/sltb.12014Hayman, Peter M., et al. “Aftermath of Violence: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Vietnam Veterans.” Journal of Counseling & Development, vol. 65, no. 7, 1987, pp. 363–366., doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.1987.tb00731.xEngdahl, Brian E., et al. “Assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder in World War II veterans.” Psychological Assessment, vol. 8, no. 4, 1996, pp. 445–449., doi:10.1037/1040-35188.8.131.525Scurfield, Raymond Monsour. “Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder among Vietnam Veterans.” International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndromes, 1993, pp. 879–888., doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-2820-3_74″Veterans statistics: PTSD, Depression, TBI, Suicide.” Veterans PTSD Statistics | Statistics: Depression, TBI and Suicide, www.veteransandptsd.com/PTSD-statistics.html”Veteran Transitional Housing.” Wounded Warrior Homes, www.woundedwarriorhomes.org/”Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, 10 July 2017, www.bbrfoundation.org/research/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd”Never Quit.” Lone Survivor Foundation, lonesurvivorfoundation.org/”Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Psych Central, 9 Nov. 2017, psychcentral.com/disorders/ptsd/”NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine.” Feature: Post Traumatic Stres Disorder PTSD: A Growing Epidemic / Neuroscience and PTSD Treatments, medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/winter09pg10-14.htmlwww.nimh.nih.html”Types of PTSD.” Psych Central, 17 July 2016, psychcentral.com/lib/types-of-ptsd/”PTSD in Military Veterans.” PTSD in Military Veterans: Causes, Symptoms, and Steps to Recovery, www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/ptsd-in-military-veterans.htmtendfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1745832.2017.1388263″PTSD treatment confronts the trauma behind the disorder.” Military Health System, 23 June 2017, health.mil/News/Articles/2017/06/23/PTSD-treatment-confronts-the-trauma-behind-the-disorder”National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, www.nlm.nih.gov/”PTSD: National Center for PTSD.” Traumatic Stress in Female Veterans – PTSD: National Center for PTSD, 5 Feb. 2010, www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/trauma/war/traumatic_stress_in_female_veterans.aspStrange, Trey, and special to CNBC.com. “‘Ellie’ is having more success getting veterans to talk about PTSD than the VA.” CNBC, CNBC, 11 Nov. 2017, www.cnbc.com/2017/11/11/new-ptsd-treatment-options-for-military-veterans-focus-on-technology.html”Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Causes.” Psych Central, 9 Nov. 2017, psychcentral.com/disorders/ptsd/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-causes/”Videos & Info for Military Veterans.” Make the Connection, maketheconnection.net/”PTSD: National Center for PTSD.” PTSD Treatment Programs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – PTSD: National Center for PTSD, 1 Jan. 2007, www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/therapy-med/va-ptsd-treatment-programs.asp”Alternative PTSD Treatment Programs for Veterans.” OWP, www.operationwarriorspath.org/ptsd-programs/
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