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Once your soldier has returned from deployment, you may be very eager to get into a routine. But what if your soldier is not? Do they seem more distant, angry, stressed or are they avoiding conversation? The excitement of homecoming can blind our reality, and in many cases spouses will either ignore the signs or just not know how to handle the situation.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is becoming more common today with soldiers returning from single or multiple deployments. PTSD is a very severe anxiety disorder that if left untreated can have devastating consequences for the soldier as well as their families. So how do you know when your soldier needs medical attention?
Signs of PTSD
-Insomnia or Nightmares
-Grinding of Teeth
-Diarrhea or Intestinal Upsets
-Pacing & Restlessness
-Suspicion and Paranoia
-Loss of Interest in Hobbies
-Increased Alcohol Consumption
-Other Substance Abuse
-Anxiety or Panic
A study recently conducted by the Associated Press claims that 1 in 8 returning soldiers suffer from PTSD. Most of these soldiers do not seek the proper help that is needed, as they may be in denial that they are suffering from PTSD. Your role as a military spouse is very important. If you notice any of the symptoms above please speak to your soldier about it. Explain why it is important to them, you and your family that they seek help immediately. There are many resources available to soldiers and families to help with the transition of deployment and any outcomes.
Group counseling is available through the Strong Bonds Program. The Strong Bonds program offers counseling for couples and family after deployment. The Army Reserve Warrior and Family Assistance Center (WFAC) is also available to service members and their families who are dealing with the outcomes of deployment. For more services and programs for your specific branch contact your local Department of Veterans Affairs.
References: US Army Medical Department. PTSD Information. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from http://www.behavioralhealth.army.mil/ptsd/index.html