Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Marines

The physical and psychological wounds of war often persist beyond the time a Marine is deployed overseas. In fact, a projection by the Veterans’ Administration, outlined in its budget projections, suggested that more than 1.3 million claims for disability will be made in 2011, representing an increase of 30 percent. Specifically, more than 300,000 veterans who deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars already battle PTSD and clinical depression, according to a Rand Corporation study conducted in 2008. In fact, the Department of Defense found that among Iraq veterans, as many as one in six Marines developed symptoms of major depressionand post-traumatic stress disorder — despite the fact that almost 60 percent were unlikely to ever seek treatment for the disorder.

Implications of PTSD in the Marines

Experts now estimate that as much as one-third of Iraq War veterans will meet the criteria for war-related post-traumatic stress disorder in their lifetimes, according to another study by the Naval Postgraduate School in conjunction with Stanford University. These statistics have become more than mere numbers for Marines experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, representing years marked by nightmares, panic attacks, flashbacks, mood disorders and, quite often, drug and alcohol addiction in attempts to cope with the trauma and stress of U.S. Marines deployment.

Treatment for Marines with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

For many members of the United States Marines, talking about the scenes and experiences witnessed in wartime can begin to heal the wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, many servicemen who have developed the anxiety disorder require intensive or specialized treatment in order to resolve symptoms of PTSD. Residential treatment for PTSD may even be necessary in cases where the disorder occurs alongside other conditions, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders or clinical depression. Many PTSD residential programs specialize in treatment of military personnel, offering in-depth knowledge of combat issues alongside specialized therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – both found in government studies to reduce or resolve PTSD symptoms in seven to eight out of 10 cases of PTSD).

Further Benefits of PTSD Residential Treatment for Marines

Residential treatment programs also provide a reprieve for Marines veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, in a dedicated healing environment away from daily stressors that may distract from or impede the healing process. Individualized counseling sessions can help Marines with PTSD learn to contextualize and understand the role of the original trauma in their lives, develop coping mechanisms for residual symptoms (such as cognitive retraining or visualization techniques) and even receive medication to temporarily alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression while deeper work is completed with a clinical therapist. For many servicemen in the Marines, the sober environment of many residential PTSD treatment centers also becomes pivotal, as many sufferers of the disorder turn to alcohol or drugs in order to self-medicate intrusive memories and anxiety symptoms.