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Understanding and Dealing with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can occur following a life-threatening event like military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people have stress reactions that don't go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD.
People who suffer from PTSD often suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb. These symptoms can significantly impair your daily life.
In addition PTSD is marked by clear physical and psychological symptoms. It often has symptoms like depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other physical and mental health problems. The disorder is also associated with difficulties in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems, family discord, and difficulties in parenting.
Remember, being diagnosed with PTSD is not the end of the world. In fact, a diagnosis can open the door to healing, healthcare, and disability compensation.
If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, the following list of resources and information will help you find help in dealing with PTSD and related conditions.
Online PTSD Resources:
DoD Mental Health Self Assessment Program is a mental health and alcohol screening and referral program provided for military families and service members affected by deployment and mobilization. This voluntary and anonymous program is offered online, by phone, and through special events held at installations and reserve units. Anonymous, self-assessments are available for depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and generalized anxiety disorder. Individualized results and military health resources, including TRICARE, Vet Centers and Military OneSource are provided at the end of every assessment.
National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A special center within the Department of Veterans Affairs created to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. It can be found at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/.
Military OneSource: This free 24-hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues. You can reach the program by telephone at 800-342-9647 or through the website at http://www.militaryonesource.mil/.