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PTSD affects numerous service men and women across the nation

For military families in Northern Kentucky, watching loved ones suffer through post-traumatic stress can be a highly distressing experience. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs lists some sobering statistics on the rates of PTSD among the military, whether due to time spent in combat or other situations common to the military lifestyle.

PTSD is characterized by an intense panic in situations that trigger a disturbing memory of the initial event. People most at risk are those who experienced grave physical injury or witnessed another being injured. Even the belief that one is in danger can be enough to cause PTSD to develop, especially if the danger involved a close friend or family.

Members of the military are certainly no strangers to traumatic experiences, as evidenced by the staggering numbers of those afflicted by PTSD. The most recent skirmishes taking place in Iraq (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom) have resulted in approximately 11 to 20 percent of service members suffering from symptoms related to past trauma. Sexual assault is another common cause of PTSD among the military, with 23 percent of service women reporting some type of sexual assault during their time in service.

The Mayo Clinic offers some recommendations on how to help those suffering from the lingering effects of significant trauma. The best thing one can do is lend a sympathetic ear, but also be understanding if the person does not wish to talk about their feelings or related events. Recognizing when the person afflicted is going through intense emotions is also important, at which point any discussion should be postponed until a later date. Most importantly, talk of suicide or self-harm should be taken seriously. Seek immediate medical attention and ensure the person suffering does not have access to any items capable of causing harm (such as fire arms).

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