Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Marines

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a physiological and psychological reaction to an intense and uncontrolled traumatic incident. Marines are members of an elite fighting force and have the training and endurance to succeed, but Marines are also human, and war, trauma, and violence all impact the human brain, and how the brain perceives safety.

Marines who have experienced active duty incidents, violence, or even unrelated stateside traumatic event often carry memories of these traumas for long periods of time. Without proper support, untreated trauma can turn into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is estimated that between 11 and 20 percent of veterans suffer from PTSD. Fortunately, newer understanding and treatment for this issue has already made some difference for those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unfortunately, PTSD remains highest among Vietnam War veterans.1
 

PTSD Impacts Your Military Career

These statistics have become more than mere numbers for Marines who experience post-traumatic stress disorder. The personal experience of PTSD often represents 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.

Marines have served in all US conflicts, and their hard work and specialized dedication have made a difference. It is important to employ good self-care and treat any symptoms of PTSD before they spiral out of control.

Some Marines are hesitant to seek PTSD treatment on base or under the care of the Veterans Administration. The good news is that there are civilian specialists who understand what Marines experience, who can counsel and support Marines with utmost privacy.

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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 this anxiety disorder benefit best from intensive, specialized treatment in order to resolve their symptoms.

Residential treatment for PTSD may even be a better choice in cases where the disorder occurs alongside other conditions, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or clinical depression.

PTSD residential programs that specialize in treatment of military personnel do exist, 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).

The effects of emotional trauma can be difficult to deal with. terrifying memories, nightmares and flashbacks can be a common first cause of a traumatic experience. Post traumatic stress disorders can also cause the use, or even abuse, of alcohol and drugs to make one feel better. Disconnecting with others is one of the biggest, and most unfortunate, causes.
 

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 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)
  • 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.
 

By Kathryn Millán, LPC/MHSP, Contributing Writer


Sources

1 Strange, T. New post-traumatic stress disorder treatments for veterans focus on technology. CNBC. 2017.