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PTSD and how to spot it in your soldier

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The army loves to talk about PTSD, but when it comes down to it, they don't do a great job educating on it.

When soldiers come home, they are given a questionnaire about a month after they return. But did you know that PTSD often takes 6 months to show symptoms?

We all know our spouses are different when they get back, and often, we expect this as normal. Some researchers believe that if a soldier is not affected by war, that it is more detrimental in the long term.

My husband came back from his first deployment six years ago a different man. He often faked being happy and at ease when at home, but felt more comfortable when at work, since he had spent so much time being gone. He was often jumpy, irritable and what I didn't see was a film of depression creeping over him. It was simply easier to react to situations with anger than to address the underlying issues.

We've always talked about the events that took place during his deployments, so I figured he would be able to tell me about how it was affecting him, but he played it off well, not wanting me to look at him differently. The army teaches them to be strong men, and suck it up, as does society.

It took a second deployment and family issues to bring down the house of cards he had stacked up, as well as a breakdown. Finally, it became apparent that he was in over his head with these emotions, and needed to receive counseling to undo the brainwashing the military does to turn you in to a war machine, and back in to a feeling, caring person.

If you notice your soldier doing the following, please get help before it spirals out of control. As it was put to me, a soldier puts these uneraseable images of war into a shoebox, with the lid on tight. But at some point in his life, that lid will need to come off. It is estimated, that 50% of soldier from Iraq and Afghanistan wars will suffer PTSD or TBI, and 20-30% will commit crimes resulting from it.

Warning signs:
Irritability
Not finding interest in things he used to
Being jumpy
Driving erradically or road rage
Has a hard time dealing with crowds or public places
Restlessness or nightmares
Migraines
Memory loss

These are just basic symptoms, but bottom line is that if your soldier is not acting his predeployment self, please talk him into seeing a counselor just once…you can go with him for support. Better to be safe than sorry.

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