Veterans in Alabama and across the nation, give their all in protecting our nation. Unfortunately, combat can take its toll on a veteran’s health. Physical injuries, such as an amputated limb, can be easy to spot. However, servicemembers returning home from combat often face a much more silent ailment: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sometimes the symptoms of PTSD are so severe that they keep a servicemember from even being able to do routine things. In general, there are four categories of PTSD symptoms.
The first category is intrusive memories. These include repeated and unwanted memories, having flashbacks to the traumatic event, having bad dreams about the event and severe emotional distress or even physical distress when around something that reminds the servicemember of the event.
The second category is avoidance. The servicemember will actively try to not think or talk about the event that lead to the PTSD. They will also keep from going to places or visiting people who remind them of the event that lead to the PTSD.
The third category is negative changes in thinking and mood. These include having negative thoughts about oneself, others or even the world in general. The servicemember may believe that their entire future is hopeless. They may experience problems with their memory, particularly when it comes to the trauma that caused the PTSD. They might find it difficult to keep friends or stay close to family. They may have lost their interest in activities that they once found pleasurable and they may find it hard to simply be happy. In fact, they may be emotionally numb.
Finally, the fourth category is changes in one’s emotional and physical reactions. This means the servicemember may easily become afraid. They may feel like they have to constantly be on guard. They may engage in harmful activities. They may find it is difficult to sleep and concentrate. They may be irritable or even aggressive. Finally, they may feel incredibly ashamed or guilty.
As you can see PTSD is a serious mental illness that can have a major effect on a person’s life. If a servicemember is suffering from PTSD to the point that they can’t even work or take care of themselves, they may want to look into the possibility of applying for disability benefits. An attorney familiar with veterans’ issues may be able to help.