This is a question that comes up a lot for military spouses, significant others and or children or war participating veterans. Each week, I designate a significant portion of my time evaluating veterans as far back as WWII. It is important to care for those veterans in need of treatment. It is also important to provide support for the families of those dealing with this disease. One frequently asked question for me is, “How can I tell if my spouse/parent has this disorder?” The best way to really get a good answer to this question is through the vehicle of a medical evaluation by a licensed practitioner (Preferably a Psychiatrist who has some experience with war veterans).
Now, are all providers equal when it comes to diagnosing PTSD? Probably not. If a provider has a lot of counter-transference issues this would most likely present a problem for the veteran in distress. I have really learned how to allow the most difficult veterans to process and by the end of the session, they most probably will see me as a concerned provider. There are many different approaches, but objective as well as subjective data, is usually the most preferred when it comes to referring agencies.
The most disabling symptoms:
3. Irritability( Hypervigilance vs. Anger)
Please be advised that many veterans have very vivid and colorful flashbacks and or nightmares. Some of them can even recall particular smells. If this is the case, day in and day out, this veteran is most probably going to have a difficult time surviving in the civilian world. There are some new strategies for dealing with those intense nightmares that is why it is so very important to consult a Psychiatrist and early on to identify this brain disease.
The dreaded lack of sleep or better known clinically as insomnia, is probably even more disabling because of chronic fatigue issues. Over time, it may certainly impair anyone’s ability to drive, work or care for their family. This is a serious medical issue that has to be treated. In the more severe cases, a veteran can start hallucinating when the insomnia goes into days and then weeks. However, most medicines that we use to treat them are controlled and require very close follow-up by the prescribing physician.
A lot of veteran’s are always on edge. They have such stories as, “I have to sit with my face toward the door. I need a easy path of escape and I certainly don’t like elevators at all.” The symptom of hypervigilance or feeling on edge is not good either.
This is just a little bit about this disorder. Now you may ask, who is a good candidate for this disease?
1. Anyone who is a war veteran, in combat or support.
2. Anyone that has experienced a trauma in the past 3-5 years.
3. Anyone who is always one edge, jumpy or having feelings that they are climbing out of their skin.
I hope that this has been helpful. If you have any further questions, check out my website at www.askdro.com. I am sure there are a couple of additional articles that would be helpful.
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