Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among all branches of the armed forces. Veterans being discharged from active duty and beginning their civilian life are often tasked with overcoming its effects on the journey to a healthy life. PTSD can be incredibly devastating, affecting not only a veteran’s emotional health but also their daily behaviors and routines. Additionally, PTSD often informs the use of addictive substances in an attempt to cope with its intense effects.
There is no easy path to addressing the myriad of effects that PTSD can have on each veteran’s life. However, learning how to identify its signs and symptoms in veteran loved ones returning from active duty is the first step in effectively supporting their healing and recovery journey.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is an intense and difficult response to trauma that can manifest in anyone. From life-threatening experiences to life-changing events, PTSD can develop from being in an active warzone or from car accidents, devastating medical diagnoses, sexual and physical abuse, and much more.
Veterans are at an increased risk of developing PTSD as a result of their time in the line of duty, with anywhere between 11 and 30% of veterans reporting experiencing its symptoms. While many veterans develop PTSD as a result of navigating life-threatening situations, others may develop it from on-base traumas, such as intense training and boot camp regimens, to military sexual trauma (MST).
Identifying the Signs
PTSD carries a vast collection of signs and symptoms. Loved ones of veterans returning from active duty may feel a mix of emotions upon their loved one’s return, such as relief, pride, and happiness. However, it is always important to be cognizant of the experiences that veteran loved ones may have been exposed to in the line of duty.
It is common for veterans to experience changes in personality or perspective from their military experiences. Further, PTSD can be the catalyst for such changes. Some of the common symptoms of PTSD in returning veterans include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Avoidance of certain topics or places
- Being easily startled
- Unrealistic fears
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Growing emotional distance from loved ones
- Self-isolation tendencies
- Difficulty tending to regular responsibilities or obligations
- Disinterest in previous hobbies
- More pessimistic worldview
Recognizing any of these symptoms or a combination therein can indicate that treatment may be necessary. It is also common that symptoms of PTSD will manifest consistently, presenting regular, recurring challenges.
The Emotional Impact of PTSD
PTSD can also have intense emotional effects, including:
The use of drugs or alcohol to treat these symptoms can often have the opposite effect, exacerbating these already challenging feelings. Professional veteran rehab in Hawaii is not only important to directly address the underlying sources of PTSD, but also to provide the education and direction needed to process these symptoms and the additional challenges they can present.
The Dangers of PTSD
PTSD has many effects on each veteran. Not only can these symptoms themselves be incredibly difficult to process, but unaddressed PTSD can affect many dimensions of civilian life. For some, it can bring feelings of isolation that can fundamentally affect key relationships, particularly with friends, families, spouses, and children. The growing distance can make these relationships difficult to navigate, leading to further complications with communication, trust, and more.
Others may feel the effects of PTSD in their professional lives. Transitioning out of military life and pursuing alternative employment opportunities is already exceptionally stressful. However, PTSD can further complicate this process by compromising motivation and one’s ability to tend to professional responsibilities.
Struggling with PTSD doesn't have to last forever. Treatment creates space for healing. To learn more, call Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.More info
Seeking Professional Treatment
Identifying the signs and symptoms of PTSD can be difficult. Families of veterans may be tasked with not only understanding these signs but also helping their loved ones find effective treatment centers in Hawaii to address and overcome its effects. However, treatment is always available. Dedicated, veteran-specific care is necessary to address these intense effects.
Professional treatment for veterans is designed to address PTSD symptoms and the underlying traumas that may inform mental health disorders or substance abuse while also championing the opportunity to address familial dynamics and relationships. Traumatic experiences are difficult to overcome, and being able to make necessary familial changes alongside veteran loved ones to create a new and healthy home atmosphere is part of a truly transformative healing process.
Likewise, dedicated veteran treatment also ensures that veterans are surrounded by peers and professionals who are sympathetic to the unique challenges that veterans face. It can be difficult for many veterans to connect with others following their time in service due to a difference in life experience and perspective. Dedicated veteran treatment can ensure that each person’s time is spent surrounded by fellow veterans who are also working to develop pertinent, practical skills and engage in effective personal, familial, social, and spiritual healing.
PTSD is an incredibly complicated and dangerous disorder. Veterans of any branch of the armed forces are uniquely exposed to many challenging and traumatic experiences that can affect their daily life. If you or your loved one are overcoming the effects of PTSD, we at Hawaii Island Recovery are prepared to help. We champion the opportunity to create a new and healthy civilian life, all backed by our effective veteran treatment programs. From trauma and personal healing to effective drug and alcohol rehab in Hawaii, we create a comprehensive approach to your recovery needs. Each step can be personalized to help you find your own best practices. For more information, call us today at (866) 390-5070.