PTSD: The Silent Erosion of the Mind
December 20th, 2004
By Sal Roach
While the similarities between the conditions soldiers are facing in Iraq and
Afghanistan cannot compare to the conditions Americans face in the streets
everyday, there are some eerie similarities to at least one condition:
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which refers to the damage done not by
an event’s occurrence, but rather, the effects that linger long after
that event has happened.
Soldiers often experience this when they return home after months or years of
battle. The carnage and destruction they see on the battlefield leaves them
with an inability to move forward with their lives because the stress was too
great for them to deal with alone. Because of this, they have pushed it
somewhere into their subconscious, where it sits and manifests into an even
Often times it is uncontrollable.
While the stress incurred by a soldier in battle in no way compares to the
little things that we stress out about in our everyday lives, the treatments
for such disorders are often the same.
There are two forms of PTS: the first being an acute case, which usually goes
away 3-6 months after the event has occurred. In these cases, simply
talking with people or putting yourself in a peaceful environment that is far
removed from the event that sparked your problem is all that is needed.
However, for more serve cases of chronic PTSD, it can take years to work
In dealing with death, loosing financial stability, infidelity, physical
handicapping or an emotional loss, the philosophy of the modern American has
long been to "suck it up" and move on.
The more one sucks up, the more the storage of stress occurs. The explosion of
this compression is often devastating.
In dealing with military cases, studies have shown that a soldier talking with
other soldiers was the best way for them to work through what they are keeping
inside. For non military people dealing with lingering stress, talking with
someone in the same field or same situation as you can actually help, as you
see someone else who has experienced the same events you have and is still
It is important to see a physical example of achieved success so that you will
be mentally prepared to move on with your life. You must realize that those
thoughts and that history will never go away, but bringing the problem to the
surface will decrease the stress.
Heavy counseling sessions have proved helpful, and the military is giving its
soldiers anti anxiety medications such as Paxil and Zolof, which have shown to
calm down patients without leaving them completely comatose or "Out of
Another method for dealing with after affects of a stressful situation is
known as "Downloading." Here, the patient can keep a journal and write
down what is causing them the stress. Putting it down on a piece of paper or
onto a web log is great therapy, and can actually move the stress from one
place to another. Seeing this happen is extremely important for the patient.
The military now carries with it into combat, along with its multi million dollar
bombs, councilors and psychiatrists who are waiting very close to the front
lines so that they can deal with the soldiers after the battle.
Mental health is no longer a fad, but part of your medical concerns as much as
your teeth, eyes, heart, blood pressure and weight.
If dealing with extremely stressful situations does not occur, the effects could
be devastating, ranging anywhere from horrific nightmares to physical shakes and
an inability to encounter even the smallest challenge.
If you or someone you know has recently experience a significant, emotional event,
you need to deal with the mental ramifications immediately.
The Mental and Physical created the complete package.
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