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Understanding Combat Stress
February 7, 2005
This is a new series of pages with the idea of giving you information on Combat Stress Control which is the precursor to post-traumatic stress disorder. I have little personal knowledge about combat stress, so I'm using information sent to me from other web sites, and media sources! This page is being put together mainly for active duty military personnel getting ready for deployment and understanding combat stress during combat duty or for their use on their return from deployment.
Here is some more information that deals with seeing the signs of combat stress. This information is for your use to look inside yourself and say "Do I Have these feeling? SHOULD I TRY TO FIND HELP OR WILL THAT PUT A LABEL ON ME AS MENTAL CASE?! [NO, make sick call, talk to your unit chaplain or just walk in to mental health, a Vet Center and ask for help.] Does it show in the people around me that I could offer help based on my own experience?" This stress will be with you every day you are walking the streets on patrol, at night where you may have to face incoming mortar rounds, or driving in a convoy on high risk roads.
Stress Can Become a Problem
Repeated stress drains and wears down your body and mind. Stress is like starting a car engine or pushing the accelerator pedal to speed up. If you keep revving up the car, you'll burn out the starter and wear out both the brakes and the engine. Burnout occurs when repeated stress is not balanced by healthy time outs for genuine relaxation. Stress need not be a problem if you manage it by smoothly and calmly entering or leaving life's fast lane.
Please go over this information for your personal use. If you can learn to understand the stress and pressures placed on you while on patrol, the faster you will have the experience in the reduction of symptoms!
Please stop by this page to have a look at the Precondition to Combat stress and Post-traumatic stress!
Overview of Combat Stress Control [Long but very useful!]
It is important to understand that managing the anxiety may only come from your team members!
This page will give a little more detail on combat stress.
Exposure Therapy for Acute Stress Disorder
Share your stress with a buddy!
Combat Stress Equal for Female Soldiers
Managing Combat Stress
IMPORTANT: Combat Stress Control
Stress Management is Critical [New]
Fighting Combat Stress
War debriefers Counter Combat Stress
The Front-line and Combat Stress
It seems that every time the United States enters a conflict the news reports
just doesn't hold up to the facts on the ground!
Hidden wounds lead to drugs
Background about Combat Stress
By Lesley Kipling
Soldiers who fought on the front lines during World War II often returned home by ship, giving them two weeks to decompress and reflect upon their combat experience before they returned to their family and friends. Thanks to the speed of modern air travel, today's combat veterans often don't have that time to readjust.
"Now, they are in a war zone one day and they are back here the next day," said, Carolee Nisbet, a public affairs specialist at Fort Dix, N.J., one of several military bases where National Guard and Reserve soldiers out-process after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"When you were in Baghdad you were going all the time, all day and half the night, the fatigue catches up with you. There are times when I've had problems concentrating, I'll have the 1000-mile stare," said Joseph Sharpe, a reservist who recently returned from a year-long deployment to Baghdad.
For soldiers who are injured in battle and sent home to recover, the need for emotional support is obvious. But tens of thousands of soldiers returning home appear physically the same as they did when they left, but emotionally are very different people.
"I felt like I wasn't the same person I was when I left and I didn't like it," said Liz Kamps, a National Guard soldier, explaining why she sought counseling after returning from Iraq.
More than 15 percent of service members returning from Iraq and 11 percent of service members returning from Afghanistan have met the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study by Col. Charles W. Hoge, a medical doctor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
The number may actually be higher because soldiers who were injured in combat and did not re-deploy with their units were unable to complete the study. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine last summer, surveyed 6,201 soldiers and Marines in the units most likely to see combat before, during and after deployment. The soldiers surveyed who showed signs of PTSD were more likely to have been in close-range combat. Many reported being responsible for the death of enemy combatants and/or knowing someone who was seriously injured or killed.
Although soldiers surveyed in Iraq showed a higher rate of PTSD than those in Afghanistan, the report found, "The linear relationship between the prevalence of PTSD and the number of firefight's in which a soldier had been engaged was remarkably similar among soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting that differences in the prevalence according to location were largely a function of the greater frequency and intensity of combat in Iraq." These results are part of a longer ongoing study that will continue to monitor the mental health of soldiers.
Of the service members Hoge identified as having a mental disorder, less than half sought help. Service members reported a fear of being stigmatized for being unable to deal with their problems on their own.