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Veterans

Whether this is your first semester at ISU or you are a few months away from graduation, the transition from the demands of military life to those of the university can create a great deal of stress. If you are struggling with a transition back into civilian life or are facing some tension due to an upcoming deployment, we hope this page can be of assistance. Please take some time to review the information below and if you have any questions feel free to contact us at (309) 438-3655.

War Zone Stress Reaction & PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling disorder that may develop following a traumatic event. Often, people with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories, may dream of the terrifying event and feel emotionally distant. An event that might precipitate PTSD may include actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others. Common symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Recurring and intrusive memories and/or dreams of the event
  • Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were happening
  • Intense distress in response to cues resembling some aspect of the event
  • Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations related to the event
  • Feeling detachment or estrangement from others
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression

If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, please visit with a counselor or physician as soon as possible. You can also complete a PTSD screening/quiz.

War Zone Stress Reactions

Why do so many veterans of this war suffer from war zone stress reactions?

The war in Iraq is known for close-quarters battle. As such, there are no safe places or front lines; soldiers are often unsure whether indigenous personnel are friend or foe. Troops almost never experience anything in Iraq without constant fear of loss of life. They never relax and adrenaline is constantly pushed through the body at alarming rates. Constant high levels of adrenaline create problems over time.

When troops return home, they may find great difficulty in adjusting to a more peaceful environment. Panic attacks may be triggered suddenly by sights and sounds that even remotely resemble war-time conditions.

Panic Attacks

A panic attack involves a sudden and intense fear or discomfort in the absence of real danger. Panic attacks may be unexpected, or brought on by an environmental trigger. In an unexpected attack, the person experiencing the panic may not be able to link the attack to any trigger. Sometimes, the person experiencing the attack may be able to link the episode to a trigger.

Common symptoms of panic attacks include the following:

  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or feeling of suffocation
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fear of death or losing control, “going crazy”
  • Tingling in the fingers and toes

If you are experiencing panic attack symptoms, please visit with a counselor or physician as soon as possible. You can also complete a panic attacks screening/quiz.

Why do I need to get help?

Many returning service members will suffer from some degree of war zone stress reactions. It is important for returning troops to be aware of the importance of counseling services. Since many now live in a relatively peaceful environment, it may become easier to avoid reminders of trauma faced in Iraq and to, therefore, put off seeking counseling services. Failure to participate in counseling may not only further impact war-related psychological difficulties, but may also exacerbate disorders that may have been present before deployment.

Adapted with permission from Texas State University.

Resources

ISU Resources

State & Regional Resources for Veterans

Links to Other Resources


2017-01-27T09:36:21.682-06:00 2017
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