Many servicemembers experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after returning home from a difficult deployment. In fact, PTSD affects women more than men - 17 to 30 percent returning from combat zones are diagnosed with PTSD. Here are some of the classic PTSD signs to look for:

Pessimistic outlookSleeplessness
Overreaction to slight stressOverprotective
JumpinessLoss of appetite
NightmaresStrong irritability
Lack of energyLack of social life
DepressionChronic lateness
Lack of focusAbuse - alcohol, drug, and/or physical
Poor concentrationAbuse - alcohol, drug, and/or physical

You should be able to recognize these symptoms in your spouse within the first six weeks after returning home.

Effective treatments are available for PTSD. Here's what to do:

  1. Get a professional evaluation.

  2. Become more familiar with PTSD by contacting a Family Support Center, American Red Cross, or Vet Center.

  3. Explore the information about PTSD available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs's National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/.

  4. Check out the free counseling available through the Soldiers Project (www.thesoldiersproject.org, 1-877-576-5343, or info@thesoldiersproject.org) and the Department of Defense (1-800-342-9647 or www.militaryonesource.mil).


SOURCE: Adapted from Trudy S. Woodring and Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D., The Military Spouse's Map Through the Maze Pocket Guide (Manassas Park: Impact Publications), page 38. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Copying strictly forbidden.