• Understanding PTSD w/Marc Fichtner

    As many of our current clients know, we work quite a bit with the local VA to provide care through the VA Community Care Network. This has been a passion of mine for some time: as an educator and adjunct professor, I have met with and spoken with countless veterans who felt like our society had seemingly forgotten them.

    As Cornerstone has begun to work more closely with the veterans, active-duty, and first responders community, one aspect of care that has been prevalent is their struggles with trauma. Not many of us will get through life without facing our own share of challenges. But some people experience not just stress and strife, but actual, deep, trauma. Trauma may come in the form of a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, a physical accident such as a car accident or war. Here, it is important to address that trauma head on. Rather than skirt around the issue, we recognize that the trauma exists and, in some cases, it may be crippling.

    When a person experiences trauma, their entire world changes almost instantly. Many trauma survivors have a hard time feeling safe and secure. They begin to feel anxiety and depression, have trouble sleeping, and may experience other behavioral changes that are frightening to them and their loved ones. For veterans, their PTSD and trauma is a unique to the challenges of war. That’s why I sat down with Marc Fichtner, our newest addition to the team and an Air Force veteran himself, to discuss PTSD for veterans. Marc also facilitates an in-person PTSD group for male veterans, and is dedicated in his service to the VA community. Below you’ll find Marc’s commentary and unique perspective on the subject.

    Navigating the Battlefield Within: Understanding PTSD in Veterans and the Healing Power of Community

    by Marc Fichtner

    In the military, exposure to combat, life-threatening missions, or serious training accidents can lead to the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Veterans, in particular, face a slightly higher risk of experiencing PTSD compared to civilians. Statistics reveal that 7 out of every 100 Veterans, approximately 7%, will confront PTSD at some point in their lives. The intense and traumatic nature of military experiences significantly contributes to the emergence of this mental health condition. Beyond their service, many veterans continue to grapple with the lingering effects of war, manifesting as PTSD – a complex and challenging condition that has far-reaching impacts on various aspects of their lives. This blog post delves into the profound consequences of PTSD on veterans, shedding light on the vital role that community plays in their journey towards healing.

    The Silent Struggle:

    PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. For veterans, who often face unimaginable challenges and witness the harsh realities of war, the risk of developing PTSD is significantly heightened. The silent struggle of reliving traumatic memories, hyperarousal, and emotional numbness can persist long after their return home, affecting not only the veteran but also their relationships and daily functioning.

    Understanding PTSD:

    To comprehend the depth of the impact, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of PTSD. Flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and avoidance behaviors are common manifestations. Moreover, veterans with PTSD may grapple with feelings of isolation, guilt, and anger, making it difficult for them to reintegrate into civilian life.

    Importance of Community Support:

    One of the most potent antidotes to the isolation and distress associated with PTSD is the support of a compassionate community. Research consistently shows that a strong social support system is crucial for the recovery of veterans with PTSD. Community, whether it be friends, family, or fellow veterans, provides a vital safety net, fostering a sense of belonging and understanding that can significantly contribute to the healing process.

    Community-based interventions, such as group therapy sessions and peer support networks, can further enhance the healing process. By sharing experiences with individuals who have walked a similar path, veterans can find validation, understanding, and a renewed sense of purpose.

    Cornerstone Counseling is now proudly offering an innovative Veterans Group Therapy program, facilitated by Marc Fitchner, combining Solution-Focused Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, and Psychoeducation. Join our 12-week closed group sessions, offering stability, trust, and a structured path to well-being.

    References:

    • Smith, J., & Jones, A. (2018). “The Impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on Veterans: A Comprehensive Review.” Journal of Military Psychology, 23(2), 45-62.
    • Johnson, R., & Davis, L. (2020). “Social Support and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Veterans: A Meta-Analysis.” Military Medicine, 185(7-8), e989-e995.

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