FORT HOOD, Texas (FOX 44) — June is post traumatic stress disorder month and while most people throughout their lifetime will experience a traumatic event, only some will experience symptoms of PTSD.
“When we look at soldiers who have deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq and been in combat about 11 to 20 percent,” Fort Hood Clinical Psychologist Captain Jenna Lewis said. “So it’s a much smaller number than we are as you know, informed of.”
Captain Lewis explained that this statistic counters what a vast majority of Americans believe about service members and PTSD.
Many people will experience a traumatic event in their lives but will recover normally with time. Others, as Captain Lewis explains, will show symptoms of PTSD, which can look different dependent on their experience.
“They have symptoms that fall into four clusters,” she told FOX 44 News. “And so those can involve intrusive experiences, avoidance, changes in their mood, and arousal.”
Lewis explained that when someone goes through a traumatic event, they will have PTSD symptoms directly after. But with time, psychologists are able to see if a diagnosis is necessary.
“We like to think of PTSD as something gotten in the way of that natural recovery,” she explained. “And so our role is to figure out what got in the way and how, you know, they have been impacted and help get them unstuck.”
She says that today, discussing PTSD and mental health within the Army has changed drastically. She believes the more it’s discussed, the easier it is to move forward in the healing process.
“From our leaders being willing to share with soldiers their own journeys of seeking care and validating that if you’ve experienced a traumatic event, our brains are not hardwired to naturally process that.”
If you or someone you may know is struggling with PTSD symptoms, click on the resources below.
STRONG STAR Fort Hood: Provides OIF/ OEF active duty or veterans with combat exposure PTSD treatment using proven and effective treatment modalities. (254) 288-1638
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors – providing in-person and virtual high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental health care to veterans, regardless of role while in uniform, discharge status, or combat experience, active duty service members (with a TRICARE referral), and military Families.
Vet Center Call Center – readjustment counseling services: 254-953-7100
National Combat Call Center: 1-877-war-vets (927-8387)
National Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (talk)