PTSD in veterans: Stressors

PTSD in Veterans: Stressors

Our topic today is PTSD in Veterans: Stressors. Here’s a few statistics you may not have known. The total number individuals serving in the United States Armed Services is more than 3.6 million. Active Duty members make up 39.4% of that. Ready Reserve Duty represents 29.2%. DOD Civilian personnel is 24.9%. In 2010 approximately 40% of veterans were 65 years old or older.

There are many reasons for people to join. Some people join the Armed Services to travel. Others join because it is a family tradition. Patriotism is also a common reason to join. Secure employment and money for school is also an attractive benefit that people want.

Active Duty Stressors

  • PCS-permanent change of station (Relocating)
  • TDY-Temporary Duty
  • Life Threat (Deployment)
  • Loss
  • Inner Conflict
  • Wear & Tear/lack of control

Active service members are required to move to different duty stations after a period of time in order to meet the needs of the mission and provide opportunities for leadership, and career development. Generally service members and families relocate every 2-4 years.

It can be a stressful process requiring a rebuilding of community, separation from family, or friends, change of school, for children and a change of job for the spouse.

Service members often have travel assignments at a location other than their duty stations. TDY’s can be to attend trainings, conferences, or meetings or to fill in temporarily to complete a mission. They typically last between a few days to a few months but must be shorter than a year. A Deployment is when a service member is called to duty somewhere other than their permanent duty station (without his or her family). Deployments range from 6-15 months.

Military families have a lot of stressors they deal with. There are frequent family relocations and repeated long-term deployments. A higher percentage of military families consist of blended families & remarriages. There is also a higher risk of domestic violence and physical and verbal aggression. Also, military families commonly have a lower median income level and educational level.

Reserve Duty Stressors

  • Mobilization and deployment
  • Leaving family & friends
  • Leaving Civilian Job
  • Isolation from a strong military community
  • Healthcare
  • Life Threat (Combat Deployment)
  • Loss
  • Inner Conflict
  • Wear & Tear/lack of control

Stressors faced by veterans

  • Military training
  • Marital Problems
  • Combat Stress reactions leading to PTSD or other disorders
  • Severe Combat Wounds
  • The “dirt bag” syndrome (who can do nothing right)
  • Another significant factor is the serious epidemic of military suicides
  • Current Stressors: work, home, emotional strains, financial, or medical problems, or witness a traumatic event

Suicide completions by active duty and reserve military personnel have skyrocketed since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism. 2009 was the worst year record for military suicides. As you can see, there are many stressors for active duty, reserve duty, and veterans.

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