From the Olson Clinic: Veterans and PTSD

Veterans and PTSD

By Nicole Brighton, Student-Therapist

Thousands of men and women serve in the military all over the world. Upon returning home from overseas, some personnel struggle to adapt to the major transition from active soldier to civilian. A person may feel bombarded by a multitude of different stressors, including relationships, finances, employment, and a feeling of uncertainty about the future. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can also result from this life-transition.

PTSD is one of the most common challenges among veterans returning from deployment. PTSD is triggered by traumatic events and can include symptoms like reliving painful situations, emotional numbing and dissociation. Individuals coping with PTSD may be quick-tempered and more apt to argue with little or no cause. Some may act irresponsibly while others may be self-destructive – abuse substances or feel suicidal. Struggling people may startle easily in response to loud noises or unexpected events. Problems with concentration and focus are common, which can include remembering daily tasks, following conversations, and completing errands. PTSD also causes sleeping problems, many times due to nightmares or safety concerns.

PTSD is a very serious mental health concern, especially for our veterans. Sometimes, those struggling are hesitant to seek help. Some are afraid of a PTSD diagnosis while others are nervous that peers will view them as weak. However, there are treatment choices for those who decide to seek care. Sessions with a mental health professional can offer healing tools, and many benefit from peer-to-peer groups for validation and support.

In the end, it is very important for veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD to seek the type of care that best suits them. It is also essential for family, friends, and colleagues to take notice of possible symptoms. Overall support is key in assisting veterans toward a brighter future.

Nicole Brighton is a graduate student in Mount Mercy's Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Her clinical expertise includes working with individuals, couples, and children. She will soon begin research on adverse childhood experiences alongside Clinical Director Jacob Christenson, Ph.D. LMFT. To schedule an appointment with any student-therapist at The Gerald and Audrey Olson Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic located at Mount Mercy CRST Graduate Center, call 319-368-6493 or click here.

Learn more about Mount Mercy's resources for veterans.

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