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Post Deployment Mental Health Brief. Life Skills Support Center Maxwell AFB, AL 36112. COMBAT STRESS/WAR ZONE STRESS. Imposed condition brought on by exposure

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post deployment mental health brief

Post Deployment Mental Health Brief

Life Skills Support Center

Maxwell AFB, AL 36112

combat stress war zone stress
COMBAT STRESS/WAR ZONE STRESS

Imposed condition brought on by exposure

to traumatic events (such as terrorist attacks, war,crimes,natural disaster), with adverse biological and psychological effects which impair physical or mental health.

overview
OVERVIEW
  • Historical perspective
  • Stress reactions
  • Adaptation Phases
  • Mental Health Concerns
  • Warning Signs
  • Prevention
  • Seek Help When…
history perspective
HISTORY PERSPECTIVE

Since the Civil War to the Present “Combat

Stress” has had various names.

Civil War- called “nostalgia” or homesickness

WWI- “shell shock” from constant exposure to bombing

WWII- “combat fatigue” from multiple battles

stress reactions
STRESS REACTIONS

Are individual

Vary from mild to extreme

Completely normal reaction after a traumatic experience and/or prolonged exposure to stress

Are not a source of weakness or inadequacy

Having a stress reaction does not equal health problems, mental illness, or other enduring negative consequences

Typically 4 spectrums of reaction

emotional psychological reactions
Agitation

Anxiety

Apprehension

Denial

Depression

Fear

Feeling overwhelmed

Grief

Guilt

Inappropriate emotional responses

Irritability

Loss of emotional control

Severe Pain

Uncertainty

Emotional/Psychological Reactions
physical reactions
Chest pain

Chills

Difficulty Breathing

Dizziness

Elevated blood pressure

Fainting

Grinding teeth

Headaches

Muscle tremors

Nausea

Profuse sweating

Rapid heart rate

Shock symptoms

Thirst

Twitches

Visual difficulties

Vomiting

Weakness

Physical Reactions
cognitive mental reactions
Blaming

Changes in alertness

Confusion

Difficulty identifying the familiar

Hyper-vigilance

Increased/decreased awareness of surroundings

Intrusive images

Loss of orientation

Memory problems

Nightmares

Poor abstract thinking

Poor attention

Poor Concentration

Poor Decisions

Poor problems solving

Cognitive/Mental Reactions
behavioral reactions
Alcohol consumption

Antisocial acts

Changes in activity

Changes in communication

Changes in libido

Changes in speech pattern

Emotional Outbursts

Erratic movements

Hyper-alert to environment

Inability to rest

Loss of increased appetite

Pacing

Somatic complaints

Start reflex

Suspiciousness

Withdrawal

Behavioral Reactions
adaptation to stressor
ADAPTATION TO STRESSOR

Acute Adaptation Interval

-Occurs from the point where the troop is objectively safe and no longer exposed to severe stressors (1 month after return to US)

Chronic Adaptation

-adjustment to experiences across the life span, not linear and continuous

mental health concerns
MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS

A very small portion of people will develop

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Acute

Stress Disorder (ASD), or other severe mental

health concerns

Time is an important factor for most people to cope on their own

Treatable if problems develop

warning signs and red flags
WARNING SIGNS AND RED FLAGS

Time Factor: 1-2 months post deployment (after returning home and away from hostilities)

  • Recurring thoughts, mental images or nightmares about the trauma
  • Sleep and appetite changes
  • Hyper-alert, easily startled
  • Feeling depressed and having low energy
  • Memory problems
  • Problems focusing and concentrating
  • Irritability, agitation, anger, and resentment
  • Spontaneous crying, feeling of despair and hopelessness
  • Avoidance of trauma reminders
  • Problems with decision making
  • Overly protective or fearful for loved ones
prevention
PREVENTION
  • Take care of yourself physical with good diet, adequate sleep, and moderate exercise
  • Build good social support networks (family, friends, chaplains, and co-workers)
  • Talk with those that have similar experiences
  • Take a relaxation class
  • Tell family and friends what you need in terms of support
  • Do not use alcohol or other substance to cope
  • If needed seek help early!
seek help when you notice changes in
SEEK HELP WHEN YOU NOTICE CHANGES IN…
  • Work
  • Family Relationships
  • Recreation
  • School
  • Housing
  • Legal
  • Financial
  • Unit/Community Involvement
summary
SUMMARY
  • Historical perspective
  • Stress reactions
  • Adaptation Phases
  • Mental Health Concerns
  • Warning Signs
  • Prevention
  • Seek Help When…
ad