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PTSD Among the Military and Ex-Military Personnel


Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur following a life-threatening experience. The military population is exposed to traumatic incidents due to the nature of war and combat. This is the same reason why the prevalence of PTSD among the service members is very high. In fact, one in every eight returning soldier will suffer from PTSD. While PTSD was coined in 1980, it was initially called the ‘soldier’s heart syndrome’ and its symptoms were collectively known as ‘combat fatigue’ following World War I. Then, it was referred to as ‘gross stress reaction’ during World War II and ‘post-Vietnam syndrome’ after the Vietnam War. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a communications model with therapeutic applications which can help the soldiers in overcoming and changing dysfunctional thinking and behavior. NLP is now used extensively among the military and army health plans to support the soldiers.

Prevalence of PTSD among service men

Based on the different medical studies conducted by various medical institutions, the impact of military deployment -on the mental health of the military personnel is both serious and alarming. For instance, a reported 30% of Vietnam War veterans suffered from PTSD after returning from service. Same statistics are seen in the case of the Persian Gulf War where 10% of combat personnel had become PTSD sufferers at some point after a few months of deployment. A study commissioned to determine the extent of PTSD among those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq reported that 16% and 17%, respectively suffered from the disorder. Further, the millennium cohort study of 50,000 returning soldiers revealed that 87 in every 1,000 combat-deployed soldiers and 21 in every 1,000 non-combat deployed soldiers had suffered from PTSD. NLP can help the service men in addressing the symptoms of PTSD as NLP helps in changing their perceptions about the war situation and the combat activities.

Reporting about PTSD among service men

Reporting about PTSD remains to be a problem today. Less than 50% of the military and ex-military will not report about PTSD even when symptoms are already manifesting. They do not do so because of the fear that they may be relieved from the service. They also fear social stigma and losing their dignity. Reducing these barriers and making it conducive for PTSD sufferers to get help is a challenge. NLP therapists are able to address these issues at the psychological level and help them become aware of the need to address the PTSD problem.

Encouraging the military personnel to seek care is one of the goals of the health organizations as well as research institutes like Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. NLP therapists and researchers from the institute emphasize the need for early PTSD diagnosis since this could help the soldier in initializing care and facilitating better treatment.

Applying NLP to service men who are PTSD sufferers

These statistics indicate that a substantial number of soldiers are likely to develop PTSD as more and more service men are deployed to conflict-ridden countries. In making sense of these statistics, there is a need to better understand the vulnerability and resiliency to PTSD and its symptoms among the military and ex-military personnel. Specifically, early detection can effectively lead to suitable treatments like NLP and provide effective preventative interventions.

Source by Jason Lagden

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