While our commitment takes many forms, ultimately we create an awareness of various issues that challenge our Veterans every day. One of the main issue we address is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects so many of our country’s heroes. Once simply called shell shock, PTSD still has a long way to go before it is fully recognized. Do not suffer in silence. You are not alone. Please ask for help one more time.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death.
Doctors do not know why traumatic events cause PTSD in some people but not in others. Your genes, emotions, and family setting may all play roles. Past emotional trauma may increase your risk of PTSD after a recent traumatic event.
With PTSD the body’s response to a stressful event is changed. Normally, after the event the body recovers. The stress hormones and chemicals the body releases due to the stress go back to normal levels. For some reason in a person with PTSD the body keeps releasing the stress hormones and chemicals.
PTSD can occur at any age. It can occur after events such as:
- Car accidents
- Domestic abuse
- Natural disasters
- Prison stay
What is Combat Stress?
Combat stress is a normal reaction to the abnormal conditions of a combat environment. Symptoms can be, but are not limited to, fatigue, loss of concentration, and decreased reaction time.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosed condition that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event. Symptoms can include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress, difficulty sleeping, and changes in how a person thinks and feels.
What is TBI?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by an external force. The symptoms of the injury can vary. Mild or moderate TBI symptoms can include mood changes, trouble with concentration, headaches, difficulty with sleep, and reduced motor coordination. Severe TBI can cause greatly reduced or lack of motor control, greatly reduced ability or inability to speak, and restlessness or agitation.
SymptomsThere are many types of PTSD symptoms, here are three:
1. Reliving the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity
- Flashback episodes in which the event seems to be happening again and again
- Repeated upsetting memories of the event
- Repeated nightmares of the event
- Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event
- Emotional numbing or feeling as though you do not care about anything
- Feeling detached
- Not able to remember important parts of the event
- Not interested in normal activities
- Showing less of your moods
- Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event
- Feeling like you have no future
- Always scanning your surroundings for signs of danger (hypervigilance)
- Not able to concentrate
- Startling easily
- Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- You may feel guilt about the event, including survivor guilt. You may also have symptoms of anxiety, stress, and tension:
- Agitation or excitability
- Feeling your heart beat in your chest
Signs and tests
Your health care provider may ask how long you have had symptoms. PTSD is diagnosed when you have had symptoms for at least 30-60 days. Some may not realize for year
Your health care provider may also do a mental health exam, physical exam, and blood tests. These are done to look for other illnesses that are similar to PTSD.
Treatment for PTSD involves talk therapy (counseling), medicines, or both.
During talk therapy, you talk with mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or therapists, in a calm and accepting setting. They can help you manage your PTSD symptoms. They will also guide you as you work through your feelings about the trauma.
There are many types of talk therapy. One type that is often used for PTSD is called desensitization. During therapy, you are encouraged to remember the traumatic event and express your feelings about it. Over time, memories of the event become less frightening.
During talk therapy you may also learn ways to relax, especially when you start to have flashbacks.
Your provider may suggest that you take medicines. They can help ease your depression or anxiety. They can also help you sleep better. Medicines need time to work. Do not stop taking them or change the amount (dosage) you take without talking to your provider. Ask your provider about possible side effects and what to do if you experience them.
Support groups, where people who have similar experiences with PTSD, can be helpful.
PTSD can be treated. You can increase the chance of a good outcome:
- See a health care provider right away if you think you have PTSD.
- Take an active part in your treatment and follow your provider’s instructions.
- Accept support from others.
- Take care of your health. Exercise and eat healthy foods.
- Do not drink alcohol or use recreational drugs. These can make your PTSD worse.
Although traumatic events can cause distress, not all feelings of distress are symptoms of PTSD. Talk about your feelings with friends and relatives. If your symptoms do not improve soon or are making you very upset, contact someone
Seek help right away if:
- You feel overwhelmed
- You are thinking of hurting yourself or anyone else
- You are unable to control your behavior
- You have other very upsetting symptoms of PTSD
Here are some numbers if you need to reach out to someone:
- VA crisis hotline – 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
- Frank Bania, Boots on the Ground NY – 631-294-5248
- Tim Harten, Boots on the Ground NY – 516-852-3965
- DCoE Outreach Center- 866-966-1020 (24/7)Resources@dcoeoutreach.org
- Defense Suicide Prevention Office- : 1-800-273-8255 (24/7)
- Military One Source – : 800-342-9647 (24/7)
The VAC (Veterans Activity Center) is located at 2184 Pond Road Unit A-4 Ronkonkoma NY 11779 Tel# 631-615-2200. Please check weekly event schedule to see when VAC is manned. Participation at the VAC is confidential, there is no paperwork and no fees.
The VAC offers a private group meeting room, computer resource area, full pantry, TV & video game lounge area as well as a boot camp style fitness program when the weather warms. Holistic therapy will be soon offered and have caseworkers available by appointment for domestic and one on one needs.
Sometimes you need to talk, Sometimes you just need to listen.