1 in 3 returning military members have PTSD, experts say

VIDEO: Social workers explain Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Statistics say one in three military members returning home are being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Clinical social workers say it's a psychological disorder that happens after experiencing a life-threatening or traumatic event.

"A situation that you kind of consider horrendous or something that most people don't see. It could be like seeing someone die, it could be rape," said clinical social worker Frank Ruse.

Ruse deals with PTSD patients, many of them veterans.

"Being under chronic stress of being in a combat environment, or super stressful environment, actually makes changes to the brain," said Ruse.

Ruse says PTSD changes the way people react in social situations.

"You're consistently running on that flight or fight part of the brain so when you get back to the states it is like you are still running in that combat mode. When you come back to the states, it's hard to make adjustments," said Ruse.

Ruse tells me some symptoms for the disorder are re-experiencing symptoms, where the person may have flashbacks from a traumatic experience. Noises or certain locations can remind the person of a bad experience in the past. This can result in nightmares and irritability.

"You can get quick to anger where little things set you off. the lack of sleep, because you get no sleep can make you irritable and cranky," Ruse said.

Ruse says local veteran organizations offer therapy to help people cope with PTSD.

"The VA is doing some fantastic therapies with cognitive processing therapy and prolong exposure therapy. Does it go away? Is it cured? I'd probably say no, but you can learn to live with it and have some good therapies and you face it," Ruse said.

For more information:

  • Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
  • Contact the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

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