What is PTSD and What Are the Most Effective Treatments?

Post-Traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder a person may experience following a traumatic event involving personal injury or the threat of death, causing terror, hopelessness, and fear. It is estimated that out of a million troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, approximately three hundred thousand have come back with some form of PTSD. And those are just the reported cases.

According to the (NIMH) National Institute of Mental Health, about thirty percent of soldiers who have spent time in war zones, not just Afghanistan and Iraq, have experienced PTSD for varying length of time. An even more alarming statistic is that nearly eight million Americans have the symptoms of Post-traumatic stress at any given time. Most of the PTSD sufferers have never been in an actual war zone, but PTSD has no borders.

Trauma is something that most of us will be forced to cope with at some point in our life journey. In fact, it’s estimated that between fifty to ninety percent of us will have to cope with it at one point or another.

Symptoms of PTSD

Having stress reactions following a traumatic event is normal. Your behavior and emotions can change in ways that are upsetting to you. Although most people have stress reactions following trauma, they get better in time. However, you should seek help if symptoms disrupt your home or work life, last longer than three months, or cause you a lot of distress.

The specific symptoms can vary widely between individuals but generally fall into the categories listed below:

Flashbacks and Reliving the Event

Flashbacks are probably the most common symptom of PTSD. This is when a person vividly and involuntarily re-experiences the traumatic event in the form of:

  • Distressing and repetitive sentences or images
  • Nightmares
  • Physical sensation like trembling, sweating and pain
  • Flashbacks

Emotional Numbing and Avoidance

A vast majority with PTSD simply try to ignore the traumatic event, and push it out of their mind, frequently distracting themselves with work. Other individuals attempt to deal with their emotions by trying not to feel anything. This is recognized as emotional numbing. This can lead to the person becoming withdrawn and isolated.

Feeling on the Edge

Someone with PTSD may be very uneasy and find it hard to relax. They may be aware of threats and easily startled. This state of mind is known as hyperarousal. Hyperarousal can often lead to angry outbursts, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and irritability

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of this condition is normally done through a physiological exam. The criteria include two hyperarousal symptoms, three avoidance symptoms and at least one re-experiencing symptom. The symptoms must be intense enough to interfere with your routine activities.

Fortunately, there is a myriad of ways anxiety attacks can be treated. Outpatient and therapy prescription Medicare are means that have long since been proven to be a success. Those that are suffering from this condition should seek medical advice from a qualified medical healthcare professional to discuss various treatment options.

There are many types of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. You and your doctor will discuss the best treatment for you. You may have to try some treatments before you find one that works for you. Treatment, however, is usually a combination of resolution of ongoing traumas and talk therapy.

Psychotherapy in conjunction with medications has been shown to be very effective for the treatment of this condition. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There is help if you feel you’re experiencing PTSD.

Conclusion

The good news is that there is hope for those who suffer from PTSD. The first step for soldiers returning or any veteran suffering from PTSD is to go to their local Veterans Hospital and get the diagnosis. PTSD is very common in those who have served in the armed forces and can occur as the result of any trauma in life. Help is available.

Prosthetic Solutions for Our Nation’s Military

For many years, a soldier’s lost limb meant a life limited to crutches or a wheelchair, and ejection from active service. But a growing number of injuries in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, while dreadful, have led by necessity to developments in prosthetics technology. Some amputee service members have been able to stay on active duty, thanks to experience gained by their doctors.

According to the United States Army, more than two hundred soldiers who have had their limbs amputated (complete loss of a leg, foot, hand or arm) have stayed on active duty since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with some returning to the battlefield. Many others have resumed working in patronage roles behind the lines.

The History of Prosthetics

Prosthetics are artificial body parts used for different purposes. They are mostly custom made to meet the needs of the patients. They help patients restore abilities they have lost as a result of some illness, medical condition, birth defect or accidents.

Prosthetics have been dated back as the Egyptian dynasty of 2750 B.C. while the earliest recorded referenced coming two thousand years later around 500 B.C. when a prisoner is to have reportedly cut off their foot to escape and replaced it with a wooden substitute.

Common Prosthetics for Soldiers

Prosthetic Legs

One of the most common prosthetics is the prosthetic leg. This is because there are a lot of diseases and injuries that affect the lower part of the body. For instance, a soldier might lose a leg from rocket-propelled grenades or incoming RPGs during war. To be able to run and walk again, the prosthetic leg is required. They will allow an amputee to walk normally and do other activities as long as they are designed to do such tasks. Most prosthetic legs are made of pylon. This material is long lasting and it does not wear out easily.

Prosthetic Arms

The prosthetic arm is a lot more intricate than its leg counterpart because hands do complex activities such as grasping things. Centuries ago, prosthetic arms were not capable of moving according to the will of the user. But thanks to the advancement in technology, they are more real than ever before. Robotic arms are now being made so that they can move according to how the patient wants them to. Though the accuracy is still not the same as a real hand, advances are being pursued.

Internal Prosthetics

Some prosthetics are installed internally to support bones that have been damaged inside the body. A good example of this is the hip bone. Around 60 percent of accidents involve hip bone damage. A lot of materials can be used for the hip prosthetic. Some use metal or metal alloys for the complete hip bone while others use a combination of plastics and metal. Nowadays, some people are even using ceramic. Although ceramic is new in the world of prosthetics, it has proven to be one of the best materials that you can use for prosthetics used inside the body.

Proper Prosthetic Care

Building good prosthetic requires a lot of hard work. Proper skin care and limb care is vital to your mobility and health. To avoid bacterial and fungal infections, trapped sweat, abrasions, discomfort and swelling, here are some tips on how to take care of your skin and extremity.

How to Take Care of Your Artificial Limb

  • If you have a prosthetic which is replaced below the knee, never sleep or sit with a pillow under the knee. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time straightening your knee.
  • Avoid resting your knee over the handle piece of your crutches.
  • Try staying active by doing a lot of stretching exercises. This helps to straighten your knee and hip and increase your overall comfort.
  • For an artificial limb that is placed above the knee, it is important not to sleep with it on.
  • Your limb tends to swell in hot water as it dangles when you sit or stand in the shower. This will make it hard for you to put it on. That is why showering at night will help avoid swelling by elevating the limb.
  • If you have an artificial limb fitted just above your knee, avoid sleeping with it on as much as possible. When the hip is resting on a pillow, this promotes hip flexion or inability to straighten the hip. The best way is to place a pillow between your legs. This will help lengthen the inner thigh muscle and shorten the outer thigh muscle so when you walk you can stand with your feet apart.

Skin Care Tips for Prosthetic Patients

  • To avoid bacterial and fungal growth, it is important to wash your prosthetic with some detergent and water.
  • Use softening creams if the skin is extremely dry and at risk of cracking.
  • Do not use alcohol or unknown chemicals on the limb.

 

That serves as a short summary of the most common prosthetics being used by soldiers today to lead a normal life.

The Life of a Soldier

The life of a soldier can be very hard and demanding. However, there are also mahy benefits associated with being part of the military. Hard work, determination, and selflessness are the core values that drive the hearts and minds of soldiers. Soldiers are known to give their lives for the sake of their country without fear or complaint. They are expected to follow orders and produce results in all tasks and assignments given to them. The following are some of the challenges that soldiers go through in their days of service. This will make you appreciate them even more.

The Call to Patriotism

Patriotism is the euphoric passion that drives one to serve his/her country. The call to patriotism is not easy as soldiers protect the welfare of their country even to the point of death. When two nations are at loggerheads and decide to go to war, it’s only the soldiers that go into battle to defend their country’s interest while other citizens watch. For this reason, soldiers should be highly appreciated for this selfless gesture of risking their lives.

Lack of Good Sanitation

Proper hygiene is a major threat to the health of many soldiers. In hostile environments, soldiers choose to focus on staying safe and fiercely attacking the enemy. In such scenarios, their primary focus is trying to stay alive leaving no room for bathing, brushing their teeth or wearing clean clothes.

Moreover, there are no breaks for proper sanitation in the battlefield. This leads to the exposure of deadly diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis. Lack of supplies such as soap, toothpaste, and clean water can reduce cleanliness in the areas where personal hygiene is a concern and cause illnesses.

Hardships

Going through hardship is a must for every soldier. Hardships don’t start in the battlefield but during training. Soldiers have to persevere through dangerous and difficult training programs that are almost unbearable to them. According to the Navy Seal reports, only fifty percent of the seals successfully finish the entire training program. Some get sick on the way while others feel like it’s torture and quit. The training programs include sleepless nights and extreme workouts that bring out the best in every soldier.

Other hardships faced during battle are the loss of friends and comrades, injuries, hunger and poor sanitation. Long term hardships caused by war include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a life limited to crutches or a wheelchair. When a soldier returns home from the battlefield having lost most of his/her friends, he/she may end up committing suicide because of unbearable PTSD.

Lack of Proper Recognition

It very disheartening for soldiers who emerge from the battlefield as victors and the government fails to recognize their efforts. Nowadays, war veterans get little or no proper recognition despite their hard work and achievements. It can be very emotionally painful when you put your life on the line for the sake of your country and are not credited for it. For this reason, all soldiers should be personally recognized and awarded for their efforts. When the culture of appreciating our military force is cultivated, many soldiers will have great love and enthusiasm while serving our great nation. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in the overall performance of our military and defense force.

Missing Loved Ones

Soldiers have to endure the discomfort of being away from their family members and friends each and every day. Going to war is no easy thing. Furthermore, war doesn’t guarantee your safe return home. Admittedly, going to war and leaving your family behind not knowing whether you will make it back in one piece can be very stressful and heartbreaking. Soldiers that spend many years outside the country become homesick and are often distracted. Consequently, they may end up being distracted and die in battle.

On the other hand, missing loved ones can also trigger positive attributes in the performance of a soldier. For instance, a soldier may perform better in combat with the aim of winning and returning home.

Lack of Conjugal Opportunities

Being in the military is like being confined for some time and soldiers often sacrifice their conjugal rights for the sake of their nation. Sometimes they can go for years without having sex as their priority is to protect and serve their nation.

Conclusion

Soldiers sacrifice their life to serve and protect their country. They put their interests on hold; get separated from their loved ones and go to life-threatening territories to safeguard their nation. Therefore, all soldiers whether experienced or not should always be treated with respect, honor, and gratitude. Undoubtedly, our military force is the root of peace and prosperity.

The Future of US Fighting Capabilities

All through American history, improvements in military proficiency have been driven by innovation. Arms of the military have constantly managed to utilize technology in innovative and ingenious ways to subdue the enemy.

Admittedly, the United States troops have experienced immense changes in the last ten years. It’s not just the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, which imparted American soldiers with extremely useful combat skills and experience. There is also the advent of innovative technology. That includes GPS guided weaponry system that can make even a few American soldiers extremely lethal on the combat zone. Not only has this made American combat troops nearly invincible, but also much deadlier. Consequently, potential and real foes have had to adjust accordingly, and were beaten anyway if they attacked American troops.

We’re not talking about the bullet proof protective vests which have been around since the 90’s, but better communications, better night vision devices, sensors, robots, better combat zone medical care, more UAV’s and computers. In a nutshell, there has been more change witnessed in the military than ever before.

Technologies the United States Uses to Subdue their Enemies

This post highlights several technologies that the American military will need to fight the next war. Examples are advanced weaponry system, better combat zone communications, quitter, faster helicopters, and light infantry equipment.

Quieter, Faster Helicopters

When Taliban rebels sabotaged a special operations aircraft in Afghanistan, killing thirty American soldiers, it was clear that our forces need quieter, faster helicopters. Medical evacuation units and special operators, specifically, require more speed to evade enemy fire and to get to dangerous parts of the combat zone.

This safety, speed and noise demands are pressuring producers to abandon traditional helicopter designs, which professionals say limits the helicopters’ speed. Instead of conventional helicopters capable of moving at cruise speeds of up to 170 knots, the military is likely to rely more on other aircraft which can attain cruise speeds of up to 250 knots.

Light Infantry Military Equipment

For soldiers to have a better shot at winning and surviving wars, they must move around with a load of equipment that includes batteries, communication gadgets and ammunition. Scientists in both the industry and the government are focused on finding ways to lighten loads that can reach a hundred pounds by shedding weight through logistics and technology.

Soldiers can’t go to war without their body armor. The standard vest worn by a soldier weighs about thirty five pounds. Designers are looking for ways to balance comfort, weight and protection as well as devise ways to contour the armor so that it feels lighter. Some evidence suggests that that extremely light weight Nanomaterials that could revolutionize body armor are only a few years away from being realized.

Anytime Anywhere Communication

Improved portable broadband communication is always on the military’s wish list. American soldiers want similar technology that powers super-fast commercial cellular networks so they can share videos, photos and keep tabs on their unit’s whereabouts. The military is attempting to bridge the bandwidth-shortage-gap that exists today in battlefields. The difference between the connectivity that troops are used to back home and what is at their disposal when they are deployed is unsatisfactory.

Autonomous Robots

Remotely piloted drones have provided soldiers with overhead surveillance as well as the capacity to dispatch precision guided bombs. One thing seaborne, air and land robotic systems share is that someone is controlling them from a distance. In the next war, however, military leaders want drones that can think for themselves and make independent decisions.

Cheap Liquid Fuel

Any company that can produce fuel cheaper than what the United States military is presently using, JP-8, will have the world’s leading consumers of petroleum waiting with open arms to buy it. Admittedly, such a product could save the military billions of dollars annually.

Wide area Surveillance

Low altitude, medium endurance autonomous drones have provided the United States military with a means to circle over a specific area and keep tabs on suspected insurgents in countries like Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.  As an improvement, researchers are working on better high-flying aircraft that can soar higher than fifty thousand feet to scope out wider view over an area of interest.

Conclusion

The ever-changing technology of war is driven by battlefield experience.  Expect dramatic changes to how war is fought in the future.

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