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Recognizing signs, symptoms of post-traumatic stress in veterans

(Sierra Tucson treatment center/ Facebook photo)

PHOENIX — For some veterans who return home after experiencing combat, it can be tough dealing with flashbacks of those harrowing moments.

Some suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who deal with PTSD may have nightmares of those combat experiences.

“Most people with PTSD have a very, very heightened level of anxiety. They just feel on edge, constantly,” said Bill Reynolds, co-director of addiction medicine at Sierra Tucson treatment center.

Reynolds also worked with Marines and sailors who showed signs of PTSD when he worked in Navy medicine. He said it can take a little while for the symptoms to develop. It might not happen when a soldier is on a tour of duty.

“In the military, there’s a big stigma about seeking help,” Reynolds said. “That’s changed over the years where there’s been a lot of education and people are encouraged to get help.”

Still, Reynolds said there are those who are reluctant to get help. In past decades, Reynolds said many vets who likely suffered from PTSD didn’t seek that help.

“Many of them never talked about it, because you just didn’t do that as a man,” Reynolds said. “You suffered with it. It wasn’t really even recognized as a disorder.”

The treatment for PTSD can range from anti-depressants to long-term talk therapy. Vets can visit the VA or their primary care provider to explain their symptoms. Reynolds said before any treatment can begin, it is important that a veteran with PTSD accepts that they have it.

“The first step is just having the courage to raise your hand and ask for help,” Reynolds said.

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