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What Is Combat PTSD?

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Anthony, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Anthony

    Anthony Here In Spirit Can Ban Administrator

    The obvious answer is also the most accurate; a PTSD classification for a person who has served in combat, hence Combat PTSD. It's a name that is used to quickly describe the type of trauma you have endured and your immediate background. You are military / ex-military and you have served within a combat area. For a mental health professional to hear those two magic words, they instantly reduce various questions being asked. The DSM V may even make it an official categorisation of PTSD, time will tell, though I wouldn't hold your breathe for it. Currently it is not an official categorisation, though still widely used to quickly assimilate the type and degree of PTSD being dealt with.

    Discussion as to whether civilians who serve in combat zones should be classified with this term. Well... whilst a civilian can serve in a combat zone, endure being fired upon, they are not a constant target as a soldier in uniform is, nor do they have to fire back and take lives. So the categorisation of Combat PTSD is reserved as a label for veterans only. A reporter may follow with a formation and become involved in a contact, though at no point do they have a weapon or act as a combatant. If they suffer PTSD as a result, it is still very real and still very much PTSD, just not Combat PTSD.

    Whether Combat PTSD becomes an official term or not within mental health manuals is really irrelevant at this stage, as the term is widely used within the mental health profession worldwide to assimilate its above meaning. The term rapidly identifies a top 5 likely issues:

    1. Heightened anger and aggressive response.
    2. Heightened startle response.
    3. Heightened alertness.
    4. Alcohol and/or cigarettes used for coping.
    5. Relationship abuse / issues - emotional and/or physical.
    The first three are due to military training, the fourth is due to military lifestyle and the last a combination of the first four which usually reflect an inability to hold a relationship, or you fit within a statistical majority that are emotionally abusing your partner or even have physically abused your partner due to your anger getting out of control. Note the key term, "statistical majority," which does not include everyone, but a majority. Statistics are typically an accurate model of a larger scale group. These are all discussed in much further detail in another article, which outlines the core issues of Combat PTSD due to military training and lifestyle.

    This document is Copyright © 2009 and may not be replicated in part or full without express written permission off the author.
    kelly, Dan84, WarEagle and 6 others like this.
  2. nothenemy

    nothenemy Guest

    This was the first post I saw when logging on today and after reading I must say that I was struck by how accurate the top 5 likely issues are. It was oddly comforting to read this, as for myself and many others living with partners who have combat PTSD, we are made to feel that we are the problem and that these issues are all in our imagination and that "There is nothing wrong" with our partners. This is especially true if the condition is undiagnosed. I believe that if this criteria was to become a relevant criteria it would make a huge difference to a lot of lives.
  3. Anthony

    Anthony Here In Spirit Can Ban Administrator

    Yep... even applying to myself when I was first diagnosed, all 5 hit the nail on the head.
    Drabs08 likes this.
  4. nothenemy

    nothenemy Guest

    I amazes me, that when you are with other vets and or their wives, it is so familiar. Combat PTSD is such a complex condition yet it has such a definitive set of symptoms that seem to fit such a large majority of sufferers.
    Drabs08 likes this.
  5. Jroocan

    Jroocan New Member

    WOW! That is my life, or more specifically the past 6 years since combat. Thank you Anthony for your posts, they help us out more than you can possibly imagine. I am in school to become a substance abuse counselor working with Vets and you are an inspiration.
    Drabs08 likes this.
  6. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    What you have to take into account is that a lot of veterans have not had contact with their respective VA's. And others that have, are not getting the right help, so they turn to substance abuse to help them with their symptoms.

    I will stand today and say that the THC found in marijuana is one of the best pain relievers out. It also gives you that euphoria. But unfortunately there are all the other chemicals and side effects which are not good.
    Alcohol is another aid. A lot of people say they cannot sleep unless they have a drink, however; they are not aware that they don't actually go into a proper REM sleep whilst drunk and the body needs the REM sleep to sort themselves out.
    <Col-A> and Drabs08 like this.
  7. Steph

    Steph Active Member

    Jimmy...I'd just like to tell ya that I'm hoping and praying for the best as far as your back surgery coming up soon. I hate the idea of anyone in pain, especially someone as nice and helpful as you. You don't deserve to hurt. I got your back...well don't really want it since it seems messed up ;) but you know what I mean!! You got a friend in me. :)
    QLDAussie likes this.
  8. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    Ta Steph,
    I just sort of stand in for Anthony. He is managing two other sites and gets a bit stressed at times.
    Some of the other guys here are getting pretty helpful too. If I get stuck though, I usually ask Anthony's 'Oh Wise One' for some help. I actually think he is doing some study towards it.
  9. Bill Boltinghouse

    Bill Boltinghouse New Member

    I am sitting here after another damn nightmare and waking up with deep anxiety as well as waves of panic attacks
    I am fighting with myself to overcome the agoraphobia and not go to see my counselor later today
    I need an answer that I have been chasing for months online and I am not sure anyone really knows the answer - is the lack of treatment for PTSD the reason I was diagnosed also with Bipolar - I see some places online that the answer is YES, but the VA Admin people say NO!
    Personally, with everything I have been reading - I think that I was misdiagnosed with the Bipolar!
    I also believe that the VA Admin is using the diagnosis of Bipolar not to pay me for anything higher than 50%
    I have found that the VA is purposely covering up lots of things they screwed up about
  10. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    Hey Bill,

    I don't believe lack of treatment can cause it. Bipolar is Bipolar and PTSD is PTSD.
    I will throw this one to the creator of this website and the author of the above document.
    Welcome to the forum though mate. Hopefully some of the guys on here can point you in the right direction.

    Jimmy
  11. Anthony

    Anthony Here In Spirit Can Ban Administrator

    There is a very simple solution to this actually, and it goes like this:
    1. If you had bipolar prior to your trauma, then you have Bipolar + PTSD.
    2. If you had your trauma, and have then been diagnosed with both, you only have PTSD, as Bipolar is a commonly misdiagnosed diagnosis when PTSD is present.
    If a physician has diagnosed you with PTSD, then with Bipolar, the physician is an idiot.
  12. Bill Boltinghouse

    Bill Boltinghouse New Member

    You deal with lots of idiots at the VA trying to cover their mistakes - like the woman who called my name while I was in the Latrine and interviewed another guy!
    I found out I had PTSD in 1989 and tried to get help. but my records are classified and will always be classified. I was at an All-Vets Reunion and found a civvy brochure explaining PTSD - My wife and I both looked at it and exclaimed "OMG that is Me (You)"
  13. Abnvet

    Abnvet Active Member

    The VA .......does anyone have anything good to say about them?

    Now I have found help from the VetCenters. I know the centers are funded by the VA but there seems to be a little difference. Mainly the centers tend to have people who are knowledgeable of ptsd. The counselor I see actually served time in Iraq and can relate......
    <Col-A> and Drabs08 like this.
  14. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    We are only starting to see therapists and psychologists who have knowledge of PTSD now. But this can sometimes work in reverse too. I remember veterans comparing on our course. Once had completed tours in Rwanda, Somalia, and Iraq, and this digger had only served in East Timor. He did not feel he had PTSD.
    The Psych I originally saw, said I did not have it. He was a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD himself.

    But in answer to your question, I have lots to say that is good about the VA in my country anyway.
    I think once you are officially diagnosed and have your injuries and illnesses recognised its great, but if you are fighting them, its not.
  15. Bill Boltinghouse

    Bill Boltinghouse New Member

    Once you are inside a VA Hospital - they are great people and dedicated!
    It is the VA Admin (bunch of Military & Veteran hating Liberals!)
    From what I have seen, they wish we would all just die so they had access to more money!
  16. blake

    blake New Member

    My niece who is active duty was labled bipolar and put on meds by a VA doc but was later found to have a brain tumor that was causing her behaviors.
    Anthony likes this.
  17. Steve Sparks

    Steve Sparks New Member

    A brand new category of PTSD is referred to as "intergenerational PTSD." This is the grouping of family members who acquire the same symptoms as the war weary parent diagnosed with PTSD. Kids are at risk the most because they don't understand the behaviors, symptoms, and how to cope or live with a family member with PTSD. The children can grow up acquiring PTSD without even knowing it and carry this baggage around for many years without treatment. This happened to me and my siblings, all of us, from living with our WWII combat veteran father who survived the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor serving aboard the USS West Virginia and in the Asiatic Pacific Theater on the USS Belle Grove for 25 months before liberty was allowed. Dad had a total of 66 months of pre-war and WWII combat duty plus 12 additional months of combat duty during the Korean War. He was diagnosed with "Battle Fatigue" (now PTSD) and sent to a treatment center for six weeks following WWII. How could you not be a different man after all this direct exposure to combat for so long? I'm more than happy to answer questions about this subject which I have done extensive research. I am a lay person, not a mental health professional, however. I have worked with a mental health professional in doing my research so can say work is being done to help families of combat veterans heal.
    vikingr12 and Drabs08 like this.
  18. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    But PTSD is indiscriminate. Not all the family members are affected. My father also served in WWII and was then a Police Officer for 32 years. He was witness to many, many trauma's. Yes he displayed symptoms of PTSD which I only recognised after being diagnosed myself, but not all my family display symptoms.
    Its just like how there could be 3 people in the same battle. One goes to jelly on the spot, one it does not affect at all and the other displays symptoms of PTSD some 10 years later.

    Has this 'Intergenerational' PTSD been published officially??? Or is it like 'Combat PTSD'?
  19. Anthony

    Anthony Here In Spirit Can Ban Administrator

    Jimmy, Intergenerational is a different way of saying how its already referred to, being Secondary PTSD and/or, actual intergenerations who serve in combat, ie. a family with 7 children, all seven serve in combat, four get PTSD.

    There is no official name, its all called PTSD. There is no such thing as Combat PTSD, its simply a name that quickly states how you got PTSD. There is no such diagnosis as secondary PTSD or intergenerational PTSD, complex PTSD and the list goes on with names people use.

    This is exactly why PTSD has been shifted out into a newly created trauma category in the DSM V... as you should expect to see that category grow over the decades of coming releases with more specific trauma categorisation for diagnoses.
    Jimmy likes this.
  20. nothenemy

    nothenemy Guest

    "Intergenerational PTSD" What a perfectly apt term to describe the ongoing impact that Combat PTSD can inflict on families. Whilst I have been aware for several years now that Secondary PTSD is a very real condition that can affect immediate family members, I have recently become increasingly aware of how severe the impact can be on subsequent generations ie: grandchildren of WWI/II to Vietnam Veterans. This is a very disturbing knowledge that makes me very concerned about the possible ongoing impact that my husbands' condition may have, on not just our children, but also their children, especially when I have recently seen first hand, several examples that I believe would certainly fall under the heading of Intergenerational PTSD. Combat PTSD leaves an ongoing legacy that the world could well do without.
    vikingr12 and Anthony like this.

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