How to Handle PTSD After Active Duty

Sad man thinking

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is a condition that has been complicating the lives of veterans, along with civilians since the beginning of our species.

Humans have always been at risk of experiencing traumatic events, and being sent off to war will only increase that risk.

Trauma & PTSD Counselors

Kevin Kessell, SWC

Kevin Kessell, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Sarah Tapia, LPCC

Sarah Tapia, LPCC

(719) 602-1342
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC

(719) 345-2424
Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

(720) 437-9089
Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Clarissa Mendez, LSW

Clarissa Mendez, LSW

(720) 449-4121
Sarah Munk, LPC

Sarah Munk, LPC

(719) 345-2424
Susan Taylor, LPCC

Susan Taylor, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Joseph Anders, LPCC

Joseph Anders, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Katherine Miller, LPCC

Katherine Miller, LPCC

(720) 449-4121

Recognizing the Signs of PTSD

Re- Experience symptoms: This is one of the most difficult and overwhelming symptoms associated with PTSD.

This consists of having intrusive thoughts back to the trauma point.

As much as you try to clear your mind and erase the memories, they pop up regularly and you have to fight to move past them.

Nightmares: Sleep is a crucial element of mental and physical health.

When you have PTSD you may have trouble falling asleep due to the fear of what you dream of when you rest.

These nightmare episodes can shake you to your core and make you feel like you are truly back in the location of the trauma.

Physical Sensations: When you have these flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive memories, your body can become hyper-alert.

Breaking into heat flashes, cold sweats while sleeping, raised heart rates and extreme blood pressure are just a few of the possible outcomes of PTSD episodes.

Avoidance symptoms: This is when you will go out of your way to not think about, see, talk about, or even remember anything related to the traumatic event.

Many veterans that return home can no longer interact with the brothers they served with, as even glancing at their faces can trigger these episodes and Traumatic memories.

Reactivity symptoms: It's a difficult situation, to say the least when some of the most well-trained and dangerous men in the country are hyper-vigilant and can end up on edge when returning from active duty.

Mood and cognition symptoms: People experiencing PTSD after active duty can exhibit a wide range of emotional and cognitive symptoms.

Outbursts of anger, detachment, loss of interest, and depression are some of the mood and cognitive problems our veterans may face.

Returning to the Community

With the vast amounts of resources and help available to our veterans, there's no reason we should let these symptoms get in the way of them returning to a healthy, happy, and productive life back in their home country as a civilian.

It's important when you want to handle PTSD after active duty, to have a strong support system.

Too many times, you will hear of veterans coming back with limited family or estranged family and feeling alone or like an outcast.

This should never be the case.

If you are a veteran returning home and you are experiencing these bouts of PTSD, we would like to encourage you to reach out to professional help.

There are many different mental health professionals, supplied through the United States military insurance that specialize in these cases.

If you have a therapist but don't feel comfortable with them, it's important to transition to a professional with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you can begin to make progress alongside.

There are multiple different types of therapy sessions and treatments that are specifically designed to help people with PTSD to transition back into civilian life.

Whether you have blood relatives or not, there are people out there who are happy to help you transition back.

Mental health professionals, support groups, and normal people that want to see you succeed.

Maintain Physical Health

After serving for 4+ years abroad, plus the training you experience before being shipped out, your brain has been conditioned to that routine of hard work on a specific schedule.

It's healthy to maintain some type of routine for your physical health.

While it doesn't need to be to the extent that the military pushes their soldiers to, even small exercises such as walking around the neighborhood are great for the body and mind.


Get Out Into Nature

A little bit of fresh air is like medicine for the soul.

If you're wanting to handle PTSD after returning from active duty, one of the best things you can do is to find a nice place in nature.

It's a great idea to immerse yourself in the peaceful sounds and experience of nature.

Leave the hustle, bustle, and all the potential triggers from the big city life and find a nice plot of land to set up on.

Camping, hiking, and visiting national parks are great ways to ease your mind and find peace.

Find Ways to Relax

Similar to spending time in nature, it's crucial to find ways to lower the heart rate and relax the body.

Yoga, painting, spending time with family, and spending time solo are just a few of the possible ways to relax.

Any hobby that you enjoy can be used to relax and decompress.

To relax, you need to allow yourself the freedom to release stress.

The start of relaxing is to be kind to yourself.

Watch the ways that you talk to yourself in your head and take note if you are being kind or not.

While it may sound simple, redirecting the words you use, or the anger you have away from yourself and releasing it is crucial to relaxing and handling the PTSD you have after returning from active duty.

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If you served in the military to defend our country, thank you.

You made a sacrifice that few are willing to make and that truly deserves to be honored.

We can empathize that bringing home the trauma and PTSD after serving in active duty is a difficult burden to bear, but after recognizing the symptoms of PTSD you can begin to heal and move forward.

Remember to lean on your support system, beginning with your mental health professionals.

If you need to try on a few different professionals for size, don't be afraid to do that, your mental health is the most important thing you have and everyone wants you to return to the community as a healthy and happy individual.

Spend time relaxing and working on yourself.

Maintain your fitness and spend some time in nature.

By doing these things along with whatever else personally helps you to relax, you are guaranteed to find peace and learn to handle the PTSD after returning from active duty.


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June 18th, 2024

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