Serving in the military is truly a noble act.
But with the experience comes more than just a badge of honor.
It often comes with a laundry list of physical and emotional aftereffects, that if left unaddressed, can prevent you from leading a functional, fulfilling life.
Regardless of the reason you choose to serve, you might face some struggles once you return home.
It’s crucial that you get help during this transitional time.
Military families and veterans, particularly those from recent wars who have been deployed numerous times, face challenging adjustments when they return to civilian life.
They have to find employment, reconnect with family, and adjust to a new way of life.
Sometimes plans for the next phase don’t work out as planned, which means the soldier has to develop a whole new set of coping skills in a totally different environment.
This can be a very lonely struggle and soldiers often experience culture shock and even PTSD upon returning home.
PTSD AND MILITARY SERVICE
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- PTSD has been estimated to affect as many as 15% of Veterans. Memories from combat, the death of close friends in the unit, and living in the midst of constant danger may be invisible wounds from war.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is also known as combat stress and was previously called “shell shock.” You might get shocked after a life-threatening event occurs, but if your body is stuck in the state of shock, it is very possible that you have PTSD.
- When you face an extremely traumatic event, your body can react in two ways: the fight-or-flight response. This natural response is also known as mobilization or immobilization. When you’re mobilized, your heart starts beating faster, your muscles tense up, and your blood pressure can rise. As soon as the threat passes, your body returns to normal. However, with immobilization, which is also known as PTSD, your body does not return to its regular state even after the threat is long gone.
- Some of the symptoms of PTSD include:
- Persistent, repetitive, and intrusive thoughts about the trauma that occurred, such as nightmares or flashbacks.
- Avoiding places, people, and situations that remind you of the traumatic event. This can happen as well when veterans avoid areas with fireworks because it might bring back memories of gunshots.
- Being extremely jumpy or alert because you don’t know when something bad might happen or trigger your PTSD.
- There are a couple of ways you can lessen the effects of PTSD, such as exercise, which can help boost your mood and decrease the stress response. You can also use deep breathing and mindfulness exercises to help you relax. If you think you’re about to experience a flashback, there are some grounding techniques—like noticing sights, smells, and sounds around you—to bring you back to reality.
- Military sexual trauma is an issue that can affect soldiers of all genders.
VETERANS AND MENTAL HEALTH
Sadly the rate of suicide is 1.5 times the non-veteran population.
In most cases, suicide can be prevented with appropriate treatment and prevention measures.
HEALING FOR SOLDIERS AND VETERANS
At My LA Therapy, we understand the unique needs of veterans and the complexity of returning to civilian life after deployment.
Sometimes it can feel like no one understands and you may not feel comfortable talking with friends and family about the intensity of what you experienced and are feeling.
Sometimes the horrors can seem to great to face.
But we can handle it alongside you.
We are here to create a space where you can share your experiences without fearing becoming a burden to those you love.
We take joy in shouldering these burdens with you and helping you navigate through your pain to find healing and freedom again.
As a veteran, you’re no stranger to courage.
But healing requires courage as well.
To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must face and conquer our pain by having the courage to face our underlying trauma and confront our fears.
Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you minimize your anxiety, identifying and changing underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and providing you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.
Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in addressing PTSD, trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health issues faced by veterans and those serving in the military.
Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page.
WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH A VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT NOW
If you have any questions, contact one of our military mental health specialists for a free consultation any time.