It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.
If it’s been longer than a few months and someone still has symptoms, they may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat. It is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a veteran experiences a traumatic event. During this type of event, the veteran believes their life or others’ lives are in danger. They may feel afraid or feel that they have no control over what is happening.
The number of veterans with PTSD varies by service era. Up to 20 percent of those who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year, 12 percent of Gulf War veterans have it, and it is estimated that 15 percent of Vietnam veterans are currently diagnosed with PTSD. It is estimated that about 30 percent of Vietnam vets have had PTSD in their lifetime. All of these numbers are according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
There is hope for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Here in Kingman, there are several local organizations to meet with fellow veterans or do activities in the area with. The Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council offers a chance to volunteer with fellow veterans, the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and the Arizona Veterans Services. Through the Arizona Elk Society, there is also an opportunity for veterans to take part in the Heroes Rising Outdoors experiences, such as hunting or fishing.
If we support our troops while they are abroad, we need to show our care and support when they are at home, too, especially when it comes to the holidays.
Be aware of a family member’s experience, be mindful of their triggers, and make sure to let them know they are loved.
If you are a veteran, or know a veteran, who is going through a crisis contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 when prompted. Or text 838255.