Did you know that 7 out of every 100 Veterans will have PTSD?
Combat stress refers to a wide range of mental health issues that stem from being in combat. It can be short or long-term, ranging from anxiety and depression to PTSD.
This issue affects soldiers whether they’re deployed or stationed in a military base. If left undiagnosed and untreated, combat stress can cause other health problems.
What is combat stress, and what are the signs that a person may be struggling with this condition? Keep reading to learn more about combat stress and how you can help!
Re-Experiencing Traumatic Events
One of the most prominent signs of combat stress is the re-experiencing of traumatic events. Veterans with combat stress may have vivid and intrusive memories of the battlefield. They may have nightmares or flashbacks that transport them back to the horrors they saw.
These intense recollections often lead to emotional distress and heightened anxiety. They may also have a desire to avoid anything that may trigger these memories.
Another key sign of combat PTSD is emotional numbing. Individuals struggling with this condition often find it challenging to experience positive emotions.
They may feel detached or emotionally distant. They may also be unable to engage in relationships or activities they once enjoyed.
The emotional numbing can also extend to a reduced interest in the future. This is because individuals may struggle to envision a meaningful life beyond the trauma they experienced.
Hypervigilance is another common symptom of combat stress. Military members may feel on edge with heightened alertness. They also have an intense need to stay prepared for potential threats.
This hyperarousal can lead to difficulty concentrating, irritability, and an exaggerated startle response. Even the smallest triggers, such as loud noises or unexpected movements, can cause a surge of anxiety and an overwhelming sense of danger.
Sleep disturbances are frequently observed in individuals with combat stress. Insomnia, nightmares, and restless sleep can disrupt their ability to rest and recharge.
These can be caused by either PTSD or Acute Stress Disorder. That’s why it is also important to differentiate between PTSD vs Acute Stress Disorder. This is because they have similarities but distinct features.
The constant intrusion of distressing memories during the night further exacerbates the problem. It creates a vicious cycle that perpetuates sleep deprivation and worsens well-being.
Substance abuse can also be a coping mechanism for individuals dealing with combat stress. They may have a desire to numb emotional pain or escape intrusive thoughts and memories. This can lead to an increased reliance on alcohol or drugs.
This self-medication strategy is often a misguided attempt. It is to find temporary relief from the debilitating effects of combat stress. But it can further compound the mental health challenges they face.
Learn More About Combat Stress Today
Combat stress affects different people in unique ways. It should not be taken lightly, and is important to recognize the signs of combat stress.
If you or a loved one may be encountering combat stress, reach out for help. There are many resources & support systems to help manage these complex feelings. Don’t hesitate to ask for help; your well-being is important.
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