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Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress and How to Navigate Dealing with Coping

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

The effects of traumatic experiences can have a profound impact on mental health and overall well-being, especially for those within the military community. Whether you're a military veteran, active military service member, or military family member, the effects of post-traumatic stress can be difficult to manage.

Although post-traumatic stress can cause a variety of symptoms, from emotional to psychological to physical, it is possible to overcome. Below, this blog post will shed light on the importance of understanding and addressing PTS within the military. Furthermore, we'll provide information, resources, and coping strategies to help support you and break the stigma surrounding post-traumatic stress within the military community.

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress

Post-traumatic stress occurs after a person is exposed to a traumatic event. Military members that have participated in combat may have been exposed to traumatic events, such as bombs, witnessing the death of other military members, and other stressors.

As a result of trauma exposure, individuals may experience symptoms and effects that can impact their quality of life. These symptoms can manifest as mental, emotional, or physical problems, such as difficulty sleeping, negative thoughts, bad dreams, flashbacks, and a variety of other symptoms. The symptoms and effects of PTS can differ from person to person, with varying levels of severity. Some individuals may also experience changes in behavior or personality, difficulty eating, and other symptoms of distress.

Breaking the Stigma

Our society paints a false picture of military veterans experiencing PTS, describing these individuals as dangerous, violent, or crazy. This stigma surrounding mental health and PTS within the military community must be broken.

At Forever Warriors (alongside many other great organizations), we're working hard to help break these stigmas associated with post-traumatic stress and the military community. To do this, individuals suffering from PTS must create an open dialogue about experiences and seek professional support, encouraging others to do the same. With your help, we can cultivate a community of understanding, compassion, and strength and work to break this stigma.

Seeking Professional Help

If you're experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, seeking professional help is the first step toward healing. There are a variety of different treatment options available to help support you, such as group or individual therapy. Counseling and medication management are also available for individuals dealing with PTS.

The Wounded Veterans Relief Fund is a great resource available to the military community. In addition, our partner agencies offer even more resources to help support you through recovery and improve your mental health.

Developing Coping Strategies

Developing coping strategies is one way that individuals experiencing PTS can help manage symptoms. It may take some time to learn the best strategies for you, which differ from person to person. Some people find that mindfulness techniques can help, which can include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or even spending time in nature. Some individuals with post-traumatic stress find that engaging in physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps them cope. One research study found that brief 30-min resistance training sessions and walks helped individuals manage PTS symptoms and improved sleep quality.

Support Systems and Peer Support

Your support system plays a big role in helping you manage symptoms of PTS. Connecting with family members, friends, and other individuals in the military community can help create support systems to fall back on. In addition, people suffering from PTS symptoms can also get involved in a peer support program, which offers opportunities to connect with others who have experienced similar challenges.

Building Resilience

Building resilience can be another helpful tool to help protect your mental health as a member of the military community. As defined by the American Psychological Association, resilience is the "process of adapting in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or other sources of stress". Resilience can be built in many ways, such as building connections, creating a self-care routine, and developing positive coping mechanisms.

Engaging in personal hobbies or pursuing your interests can serve as a healthy distraction. Whether it's playing a sport or trying a new group activity, these efforts can help you build resilience and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Navigating Career and Transition

The symptoms associated with PTS can make it difficult for military veterans to transition back into civilian life and transition into a new career. Luckily, there are many resources available to help members of the military community learn about new careers and support the transition, such as the Career Source Okaloosa Veteran Services.

Navigating career challenges or transitions while experiencing PTS experiences can be tough. It can be helpful to identify coping techniques and mechanisms that you can use while at work, especially when faced with challenging situations. Discussing your struggles in an individual or group therapy session may also be helpful.

Supporting Loved Ones

Family and friends play an integral role in supporting loved ones experiencing symptoms of PTS. Loved ones can begin by lending a "listening ear", serving as a safe place for military veterans to open up without the fear of judgment. However, it's important never to force a person with PTS to open up.

Friends and family can find helpful resources through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.These resources can help support systems learn new techniques and approaches to help, as well as learning personal techniques to support their mental health.

Take Control of Your Journey

Are you ready to take control of your journey toward understanding and coping with post-traumatic stress? Join us in exploring the depths of post-traumatic stress within the military community and discovering effective strategies for navigating the challenges it presents.

It's time to break the stigma surrounding mental health and create a supportive environment that fosters healing and resilience. Take the first step by seeking professional help, building a strong support system, and implementing coping mechanisms tailored to your needs. Together, as Forever Warriors, we can overcome the impact of post-traumatic stress and cultivate a community of understanding, compassion, and strength. Let us embark on this transformative journey toward healing and well-being.

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