PTSD / MST

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, about 6 of every 10 men, and 5 of every 10 women, experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury. Older Veterans may have served many years ago, but their military experience can still affect life today.  

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is described as a mental health condition triggered by trauma. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, depression and confusion.  PTSD is not a weakness. Veterans and Service members are at an elevated risk for PTSD.

 

The number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era:

 

  • Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.

  • Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.

  • Vietnam War: About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.

 Another cause of PTSD in the military can be military sexual trauma (MST) which, can happen to both men and women and can occur during peacetime, training, or war. About 1 in 5 women seen in VHA respond "yes" when screened for Military Sexual Trauma. 

 

Though rates of MST are higher among women, because of the disproportionate ratio of men to women in the military, there are actually only slightly fewer men seen in VA that have experienced MST than there are women.

 

As with PTSD, people who have experienced MST can stabilize, heal, and recover. In VA, Veterans who experienced MST have access to a wide range of services to assist them in their recovery. MST-related treatment is available at all VA medical facilities and all treatment for physical and mental health conditions related to experiences of MST is provided free of charge. Veterans may be eligible for free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA services, and service connection (VA disability compensation) is not required. No documentation of MST experiences is required. ​

How to Help

When someone has PTSD, it can change family life. The person with PTSD may act differently and may exhibit many different behaviors and symptoms. He or she may not want to do things you used to enjoy together. You may feel scared and frustrated about the changes you see in your loved one. You also may feel angry about what's happening to your family or wonder if things will ever go back to the way they were. These feelings and worries are common in people who have a family member with PTSD.

 

It is important to learn about PTSD so you can understand why it happened, how it is treated, and what you can do to help. And, you also need to take care of yourself. Changes in family life are stressful, and taking care of yourself is essential for you, for your family, for your loved ones, and for your friends.

 

With Help Comes Hope. If you or someone you care for needs help, keep reaching out until your needs are met. Falling through the cracks is not an option.

 

Resources

 

A natural first question is whether symptoms might be due to PTSD. A good place to start learning about PTSD is the PTSD Basics page. You should know, though, that having symptoms does not always mean that a person is experiencing  PTSD. Some reactions to stress and trauma are normal. Since many common reactions look like the symptoms of PTSD, a professional must assess and diagnose PTSD. 

Veteran-Specific Helplines

For Women Veterans

Jefferson County Veterans Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist

Jefferson County Veteran Service Office

Find a Veteran Service Officer

Preventative Legal Help - Fast & Free

Transitioning Veteran

Military Spouse

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

TAPS Online Support Community

A Veteran’s Guide to Talking With Kids About PTSD

Talking With Children About TBI Booklet

Veterans’ Stories of Recovery Tailored to You

Central Oregon Veteran's Ranch

 a 19-acre working farm in a rustic setting that promotes the healing of combat trauma across the lifespan.  COVR's unique model of healthcare brings together different generations of veterans together in non-stigmatizing, natural environment where they can heal each other, and heal together.

 

PsychArmor asked hundreds of Veterans what they wanted civilians, employers, educators, health care providers, and therapists to know about them. These comments were used to create the topics of this course including 5 Questions You Should Always Ask Veterans, 1 Question You Should Never Ask Veterans, and 15 Facts that promote greater understanding of our Veterans.

According to Military.com, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a wound that occurs when a sudden trauma or head injury disrupts the function of the brain. Before modern-day medical advancements, speedy battlefield treatments, and advanced armor were developed, most people who suffered these types of injuries rarely survived. 

Today however, TBI has become a more common injury among military members as well as the general public. Most reported military TBI cases are related to Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. 

The VA has a specialized system of care for TBI sufferers that integrates several types of care including medical, rehabilitative, and psychological care. The VA also offers other benefits and treatment options such as family caregivers, specially adapted homes and more. 

Treatments for TBI focus on the symptoms that cause most problems in everyday life. These can include:

  • Medications

  • Learning strategies to deal with health, cognitive, and behavioral problems

  • Rehabilitation therapies (such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy)

  • Assistive devices and technologies   

For more details on the VA's TBI care please visit the TBI Rehabilitation Page.

For more information and additional support, visit the Defense and Brain Injury Center. which offers support for Veterans and Military Members, and their Families and Caregivers.

And, if you are in Jefferson County and need a place to start, just reach out to BestCare.

TBI