We've all heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD as it is more commonly known. It's a condition that can be affect anyone of us. But in recent years we've heard more about it in relation to our military. We asked alicensed clinical psychologist Dr. Cara Bainum with Living Hope Counseling Center in Quincy,to explain what causes PTSD. She says that for some people when they face a traumatic experience their minds and bodies go into a fight or flight response.
She says,"When a person has experience a trauma, either that is severe enough or has occurred over a long enough period of time, when a person is under fear of losing life or limb, then the chemicals in the brain are altered and it forces us into a fight or flight response."
Not everyone who comes back after serving our country overseas will have to deal with PTSD. It has a lot to do with what conditions they face and their own coping skills. But for those who do, and the people who love them, it can be a challenge to navigate through those early days back home. So KHQA found out more about this condition and what you can do to help some one you love who may be dealing with it.
As we all know,our military face dangerous challenges everyday. And soldiers who are preparing to head overseas may return home to face another enemy...PTSD. Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Cara Bainum says those unexpected battlefield dangers could trigger the condition. " Sometimes they are under severe environmental conditions that are different from what they're used to. Sometimes they have a lack of sleep because missions that they're on. Sometimes while they have survival mechanisms for food and water, there may be long periods of time where they are going without food and water until they stop somewhere to recoup." Dr. Bainum also says that extended periods of service can also trigger the condition. For loved ones, there are several signs to watch out for that MAY be a sign that your service person could be dealing with PTSD. " Things to watch out for are sleep disturbances for example. An inability to sleep , especially an inability to sleep without aids such as night time headache relievers that has something in it for sleep." Some other signs include flashbacks, moodswings, being easily startled and alcohol or drug abuse. If you know that your soldier has a diagnosis of PTSD or you suspect they may be dealing with the condition....the most important thing you can do is not to overwhelm them. Instead... talk to them and find out what they're needs are. " And that opens the door to communication so that if the service person and the loved one are, really would be overwhelmed by all ,you know even traveling 15 miles away to see an aunt and uncle and then another 10 miles away to see so and so, so that we're seeing everybody, it probably is not what they're needing." Instead Dr. Bainum recommends having one single gathering where everybody come to.... the soldier.
Dr. Bainum says it's important to assure your service person that they are not crazy, the condition is real and there is a reason for it. It's also important to encourage your loved one to seek professional therapy to deal with this condition. If you want to learn more about PTSD you can log on to the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at www.ncptsd.va.gov