Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling disorder that may develop following a traumatic event. Often, people with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories, may dream of the terrifying event, and feel emotionally distant.
An event that might precipitate PTSD can include serious injury, threat of death, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others. Common symptoms of PTSD include the following:
If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, please visit with a counselor or physician as soon as possible.
A panic attack involves a sudden and intense fear or discomfort in the absence of real danger. Panic attacks may be unexpected, or brought on by an environmental trigger. In an unexpected attack, the person experiencing the panic may not be able to link the attack to any trigger.
Sometimes, the person experiencing the attack may be able to link the episode to a trigger. Common symptoms of panic attacks include the following:
If you are experiencing panic attack symptoms, please visit with a counselor or physician as soon as possible.
Many returning service members will suffer from some degree of war zone stress reactions. It is important for returning troops to be aware of the importance of counseling services. Since many now live in a relatively peaceful environment, it may become easier to avoid reminders of trauma faced in Iraq and to, therefore, put off seeking counseling services.
Failure to participate in counseling may not only further impact war-related psychological difficulties, but may also exacerbate disorders that may have been present before deployment.
The war in Iraq is known for close-quarters battle. As such, there are no safe places or front lines; soldiers are often unsure whether indigenous personnel are friend or foe. Troops almost never experience anything in Iraq without constant fear of loss of life. They never relax and adrenaline is constantly pushed through the body at alarming rates.
Constant high levels of adrenaline create problems over time. When troops return home, they may find great difficulty in adjusting to a more peaceful environment. Panic attacks may be triggered suddenly by sights and sounds that even remotely resemble war-time conditions.