The behavioral health care staff is here to help Veterans and their families manage and overcome the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is often misunderstood by Veterans, families and the public. PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, sleep disorders, depression, feelings of isolation or anger, feeling numb, or being preoccupied with the war experience. Any of these can be normal human responses to abnormally stressful situations. Because of misunderstanding about the symptoms, the first reaction by many is to try to self-medicate by use of alcohol or other drugs.
PTSD symptoms can begin shortly after the traumatic event, or even decades later. Life stressors such as birth of a child, divorce, death of a loved one, or retirement may trigger symptoms. For other Veterans, direct reminders of the military experience may trigger symptoms. For others, it may be firecrackers on the fourth of July, the sound of helicopters or certain smells associated with the combat theater. This may happen even when a person seemed to have no problems making the transition to civilian life.
Treatment can reduce symptoms by helping the Veteran and his or her family develop coping techniques to manage the condition. Unfortunately, because of misunderstandings around PTSD, many Veterans may not seek treatment. Individual therapy usually focuses on reducing distress from reminders of the individual traumatic experience. Group therapies may help the Veterans understand that they were not alone in their reaction to the military service. While PTSD may be a chronic condition with periodic return, treatment can help the Veteran understand and deal with the life-changing nature of the trauma. PTSD can be understood.