Background Information

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you’ve seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.

Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan need to have mental health services available to them in order to help them adjust and cope with their experiences. In acknowledgment of this, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been attempting to give returning veterans priority for medical and psychiatric care at VA medical centers, as well as offer programs that are focused on providing early help with any psychological and medical difficulties they may be experiencing.

A recent study in the journal Military Medicine examined rates of PTSD and the success of these VA programs among 120 service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They surveyed the returning service members on their  PTSD symptoms, depression, alcohol use and their use of VA mental health services. Their findings for mental health problems are quite alarming:

  • 6% had PTSD
  • 27% showed dangerous alcohol use
  • 6% had problems with both PTSD and alcohol use

They also found that 62% of service members reported receiving some kind of mental health care since returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan. Of these:

  • 11% reported use of medication
  • 13% had individual therapy
  • 12% had group therapy
  • 10% had marital or family therapy
  • 2% had treatment for susbtance use problems
  • 51% were involved in briefings and/or debriefings.
Veterans’ Sanctuary
Mission: “To sustain a peer-based, holistic program that supports veterans, with a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, as they transition from combat to civilian life. Our program provides the tools for transformation and a new path toward addressing veterans’ issues.”

“We cultivate a safe space in which veterans discuss and process their military experiences through organic farming, writing, and making combat paper. Veterans are empowered to share the burden of war with civilians.     As soldiers return home, models like Veterans’ Sanctuary hope to lead the way to healing.”

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