Post Traumatic Stress and Suicide Among Veterans

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Post Traumatic Stress and Suicide Among Veterans Imagine going to bed one evening with plans of going on a motorcycle ride with a few of your childhood friends the next morning. While asleep, you have intrusive memories of a helicopter crash that you experienced first hand while on your last military deployment. You wake up in the middle of the night afraid and overwhelmed in anxiety when you think the ceiling fan spinning are the helicopter’s blades falling toward you. You see the face of the fear stricken pilot coming down with the rest of his crew, but there is no one in the room but you. You cannot go back to sleep because it is difficult, and you can only think to send a text message to your friends that you will not being going on the planned ride. It is four o’clock in the morning, and the only thing you think will calm you down is a cigarette and a beer. A pack of cigarettes, a 12-pack of beer later, and three hours later one of your friends sends you a text message back stating he was upset that you were backing out on plans for the fourth time in a month and not to expect another invitation. Your feelings of fright and anxiety change to feelings of guilt and shame, and since you feel like you’ve let your friends down you start to think the world might be a better place without you. These are all symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Defined by the Mayo Clinic, PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event. The symptoms of this disorder can at times be so severe and painful that those affected by it often start ruining their health, their sanity, their families, and lose control of their lives. Official recognition of PTSD is fairly new, but history of combat-related stress goes as far back as the Civil War. During this war, soldiers were not deemed as “manly” if they succumbed to their traumatic

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