Returning From Battle In The Age of Invisible Wounds

As technologies progress and warfare evolves, so do the processes involved with shipping out and returning home. One thing that will always remain: the excitement service members feel as they embark on their journey home to be reunited with their loved ones. In all the excitement however, it’s easy to think that the transition process will be seamless and care-free. When in fact, many challenges can face a service member transitioning from deployment back to civilian life.

There’s no magic switch that can turn a service member’s mind from ‘service mode’ to ‘civilian mode’. That mental transition requires time to take effect, and the transition can be different for every service member. One feeling that can recur in transitioning service members is being on edge. Communication is crucial with those closest to them, like family, friends, and even their fellow service members that they stay in touch with to get a strong understanding of how they adapt to civilian life.

Sometimes, those feelings may just be the tip of a larger iceberg which has become more common for service members to encounter. Post-traumatic stress (PTS) is a tricky condition that has no definite start date. A traumatic event can take place days, weeks, months, or even years prior to the effects manifesting themselves in a person. Because of that uncertainty, it makes understanding the signs and symptoms of PTS that much more important.

Symptoms of PTS can also be triggered in various ways, as can their intensity. Stress on its own can cause the symptoms to be more prevalent, as can reminders of what a person endured. These X-factors (REDO) can also complicate PTS, especially when it’s undiagnosed. Some of the symptoms of PTS can be identified by the people around them familiar with their habits and personality. Dark moods, as well as avoidance and intrusive memories are all largely internalized signs of PTS as well as changes in physical and emotional reactions such as seeming to always be on guard for danger, self-destructive behavior, angry outbursts, and being easily startled/frightened may stick out in a person who never acted like that pre-deployment.

Our Intrepid Spirit Centers were conceptualized and created understanding the critical need to treat PTS and other invisible wounds of war like traumatic brain injury. Each center is specially equipped with the tools of an interdisciplinary mode of treatment to address the symptoms of these conditions. Treatments range from occupational therapy to yoga and mindfulness to music and art therapy. Read more about how Intrepid Spirit Centers help, and donate today to help make the next center possible.

Posted on April 15 2019 in Blog

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