PTSD in combat veterans is a very common occurrence. The estimates of lifetime PTSD are 8% of veterans. Lifetime prevalence rates for Vietnam vets is 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women. 22.5% of men and 21.2% of women have subclinical PTSD. The current prevalence rates for Gulf War vets is 12.1%. Prevalence rates for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom are 13.8%.
There are many symptoms of PTSD. These include intrusive symptoms, negative alterations in cognition’s and mood, and changes in arousal and reactivity. PTSD in combat veterans can manifest with the symptoms below.
- Repetitive, uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts and memories of the event
- Traumatic nightmares of the event
- Dissociative experiences such as flashbacks
- Extreme or protracted distress
- Notable physical reactivity
Negative alterations in cognition’s and mood
- Dissociative amnesia
- Continuous and distorted negative thoughts and expectations
- Notable lack of interests in things the person previously enjoyed
- Continuous distorted self-blame or blaming others
- Feeling detached or estranged from others
- Continuous negative emotions associated with the trauma
- Restrained emotions or being unable to feel positive emotions
Changes in arousal and reactivity
- Irritability or aggression
- Self-destructive or careless behavior
- Exaggerated startle response
- Difficulties concentrating and paying attention
- Sleep problems
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