Combat trauma is a specific type of trauma experienced by men and women who have served in military and law enforcement roles. Combat PTSD can happen to anyone in combat, from those that have experienced live fire to those who are support workers in a war zone area. Not everyone in combat experiences combat PTSD, but many do.
The symptoms of combat trauma generally fall into three main categories:
Intrusive – includes distressing recollections, flashbacks, nightmares and feeling anxious and fearful.
Because trauma survivors have these upsetting feelings when they become stressed or are reminded of their trauma, they often feel as if they are in danger again. Re-experiencing symptoms are a sign that the body and mind are actively struggling to cope with the traumatic experience. It is also possible that re-experiencing symptoms are actually a part of the mind’s attempt to make sense of what has happened.
Avoidant — includes extensive and active avoidance of activities, places, thoughts, feelings, memories, people, or conversations related to or that are a reminder of combat experiences. This can also show up in the form of loss of interest, feeling detached from others, restricting emotions, trouble remembering, shutting down and numbness.
Because thinking about the trauma and feeling as if you are in danger is upsetting, people who have been through traumas often try to avoid reminders of the trauma. Trying to avoid thinking about the trauma and avoiding treatment for trauma-related problems may keep a person from feeling upset in the short term, but avoiding treatment means that in the long term, trauma symptoms will persist.
Hyperarousal – Increased physical or emotional arousal that includes difficulty sleeping, irritability, difficulty thinking clearly, and panic attacks.
Triggers can include any of the following: Specific scenes, movement, TV, sound, smell, reading, touch (gun metal, webbing, blood), situational (being crowded, walking across open spaces, feeling vulnerable or not in control).
Treating Trauma at Milestones
At Milestones at Onsite, we want you to know that we stand behind you one hundred percent. We want to support you and walk with you into your recovery. We believe in unconditional love and provide a safe environment for you to do the work that has been needed for a long time. We are here to help and we’d be honored to have the opportunity to show up for you and help you discover joy in your life.