What Is Post-Traumatic Stress?

Post-traumatic stress (PTS) has become one of the most well-known yet misunderstood afflictions plaguing our military community. Known as an invisible wound of war, PTS is often referred to as one of the signature injuries of today’s military conflicts. It is estimated by the National Center for PTSD that 11-20 of every 100 service members who served in recent conflicts (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) suffer from PTS in a given year. So, what exactly is post-traumatic stress and what are its symptoms?

Simply put, post-traumatic stress is a by-product of experiencing a traumatic event. It is a person’s natural response to an extraordinary scenario. Traumatic events can include experiencing life in a war zone (as a military service member or civilian), violent acts such as physical or sexual assaults, and unexpected events such as natural disasters, car accidents, and other catastrophic events. Experiencing one of these traumatic events, however, doesn’t doesn’t guarantee that a person will suffer from post-traumatic stress. The threshold for trauma varies from person to person, so two people can experience the same traumatic event and one, both, or neither may develop post-traumatic stress.

Re-experiencing trauma is one of the signature symptoms of post-traumatic stress. This can manifest in detailed recollections of the event, flashbacks, and even nightmares. Sometimes it may even create the feeling that a person is reliving the event as if it’s happening for the first time. Re-experiencing can create physical reactions such as chills, shaking, headaches, heart palpitations, or panic attacks. Reliving trauma can then lead to avoidance. Avoiding people, places, and things that are reminiscent or direct reminders of the event is very common, and may be accompanied by emotional numbness. Finally, a person’s alertness tends to be increased when they’re suffering from PTS. This may include difficulty sleeping and/or concentrating, feelings of jumpiness or emotional instability, and being quick to anger or having increased feelings of irritation.

Despite being known as one of the signature wounds of today’s conflicts, there is still so much more that can be done to treat our military heroes who struggle with the symptoms of PTS. That’s where we come in. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has built and completed the National Intrepid Center of Excellence and 8 satellite Intrepid Spirit Centers on military bases across the country and the ninth center is currently under construction; one additional center is planned. These centers diagnose, treat, and care for military personnel suffering the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress. Thousands of service members have been treated and with your help thousands more will continue to get the care that is so critically needed. Our cause is funded entirely by the public, and relies on donations from people like you. Donate today to help us complete our mission and heal our heroes!

Posted on June 17 2019 in Blog

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