Military Personnel and Post Traumatic Stress
Sufferers often feel and appear out of control. Be familiar with the three
clusters of symptoms described previously and look out for dangerous, ‘pumping
up’ behaviour including, driving aggressively or alcohol and drug misuse.
Sleep issues are very common for people who have experienced trauma. Often
some one struggling with trauma will find it increasingly difficult to get off
to sleep, may be disturbed from sleep by nightmares and usually wake without
feeling rested or refreshed. Others may feel that the only thing they want to do
is sleep all the time but again they don’t feel restored or energised upon
It is important to understand the difference between bad memories and
traumatic memories. Bad memories fade over time, they can be recalled at will,
talked about or thought about and although these memories remain unpleasant the
event is understood to be in the past. Traumatic memories however, do not fade
in the same way and sufferers can be hijacked by overwhelming emotions or
sensations with aspects of the original trauma being re-experienced over and
over again. Not surprisingly, many people experiencing such confusing and
overwhelming emotions often state they feel like they are going mad.
Be aware of just how hard it can be for service men and woman to make the
transition back home and into civilian life. Service people often live within a
close knit brother/sisterhood. So close in fact they kill for each other.
Sometimes service people return feeling contaminated. Often there is a sense
of guilt for having survived and grief for friends who didn’t. Their old life is
no longer familiar to them, their friends are no longer familiar to them, the
World often feels like it’s no longer familiar to them. They occupy a different
space and it can feel like too big a job to try to bring family and friends into
where they have been, what they have seen or what they have been through.
It’s usually not helpful to offer reassurances that things will get back to
normal. Most likely there’s no going back. In fact people who have been through
profound experiences often have a different view of the world including a post
traumatic wisdom and maturity as well as a deep appreciation of humanity.
Post Traumatic Stress need not be a life sentence
Many sufferers of post traumatic stress wrongly believe that they are
irreparably damaged and that their symptoms are untreatable. Some people believe
that they must be weak, failures or even that they have gone mad and the thought
of needing professional help seems to reinforce this view. Others have sought
help previously but have received the wrong kind of treatment from counsellors
or medics who do not have the appropriate skills or training in the treatment of
Treatments that recognise the relationship between the body and the mind and
understand that traumatic symptoms are physiological as well as psychological
are required in order to treat sufferers effectively. Traditional talking
therapies on their own are unlikely to be sufficient to enable sufferers of post
traumatic stress symptoms to recover.
The following treatments combine cognitive talking therapies with scientific
somatic approaches and are recommended for treating post traumatic stress as
they directly address the effects of trauma on the nervous system.
* Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
* EMDR (Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing)
* The Human Givens Rewind Technique
* Guided Imagery
* Somatic Experiencing