Women in the Military and PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe, potentially life-threatening anxiety disorder. Military experience is one of the major risk factors for developing PTSD, as the disorder is the result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD is highly-connected with military exposure because of the horrific sights, sounds, and feelings a military soldier often experiences. While combat exposure is the most obvious traumatic issue a military soldier would face, everyday life as an active-duty soldier can be just as traumatic having to be on-guard at all times. Even doctors, nurses, and non-soldier occupations in the military are high-risk for developing PTSD, due to the trauma these individuals also encounter.
Recent studies have found that women in the military are twice as likely to develop PTSD as their male counterparts. An estimated 20 percent of military service-women develop PTSD, an alarming number, and this percentage is only expected to rise now that more women than ever before in U.S. history are going on combat deployment. Veterans and military personnel returning home do not receive the attention they deserve, but even more so, military women returning home receive even less attention when it comes to post-deployment or post-combat treatment and recovery.
One reason military women have struggled with PTSD in the dark is because many cases of PTSD are related to sexual traumas. Many women fear opening up about sexual abuse they have incurred while in the military. Women have had a great enough struggle attaining equality in the U.S. military that they do not want to be seen as weak or inferior, so many victims of sexual abuse and assault keep quiet and contend with the pain and trauma on their own.
Identifying Symptoms of PTSD in Military Women
Epidemiological studies have shown that while women are less exposed to traumatic events, they are genetically more susceptible to developing PTSD. PTSD can develop at any time after a trauma is experienced. Military women can begin noticing symptoms of PTSD during their service or when they return home. The most common symptoms for identifying PTSD in women include:
- Re-living or re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, etc.
- Avoidance. Doing whatever they can to avoid people, places, things, and events associated with the trauma.
- Numbness or detachment. Isolation, mistrust of others, lost interest in activities, no emotional attachment or relationships.
- Hyper-aroused or hyper-vigilant. Seeming on-edge, panicked, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, irritability, and anxiety.
How to Help Military Women Who Are Battling PTSD
The consequences of untreated PTSD are severe. The disorder can destroy your relationships and career, and it is detrimental to your health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. If you are a military women battling PTSD, please recognize that you do not have to struggle with this issue alone any longer. You have hope for recovery, and we can help get you on your way.
There are several treatment and recovery options that specialize in treating military women with PTSD and other mental health issues. To speak with a recovery professional about the treatment options that are right for you, call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today. Recovery professionals are ready to answer your questions, address any concerns, and supply you with all the information you need about PTSD, treatment, and other issues you may be battling as a result of your military experience. If you’re ready to win the battle with PTSD and move forward with your life, call and speak with a recovery professional today; we’re here to connect you with the help you need.