While conducting workshops for decades around the world for many different types of individuals, both professionals and laypeople, the answer to the question I frequently pose to attendees—“Who here had a week recently devoid of problems?” leads consistently to an absence of raised hands. We all have problems—some small, and unfortunately at times, some being quite overwhelming. Based on this common sense consensus, we would all further agree that it is not abnormal or unusual to have problems.
Blog posts with the tag "Service Members"
When I was finishing up my clinical training on internship, I was co-leading a therapy group for WWII Veterans who had all been POWs while in theater. Here it was over 50 years since their military service and they all had the same complaint; they had not been able to get a good night of sleep since that time. This is unfortunately a common problem for Veterans and active duty Service members. There have now been several studies reporting high rates of sleep problems, in particular insomnia and nightmares.
The fraction of military members moved by the Department of Defense every year, according to a recent RAND Corporation report -- Tour Lengths, Permanent Changes of Station, and Alternatives for Savings and Improved Stability. The report looked at how much money could be saved if DoD reduced the number of Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves by extending tours of duty. Because a variety of alternatives were considered, the estimated annual savings range was broad -- $19 million to $84 million.
Over the past several years I have seen the same bewildered expression on the faces of numerous Veterans as they struggle to understand and explain their own actions. After several months of treatment, one such client was finally able to articulate, “It’s like there’s a switch in my head that suddenly turns on and it takes everything I’ve got to fight the impulse to do something crazy.”
Combat stress is an issue that concerns all healthcare professionals and military officers who support and facilitate military readiness. When YOU reflect on the phenomenon we call Combat stress, do you consider it:
- An undesirable consequence of war?
- A disabling force affecting our military men and women?
- A source of growth and strength voluntarily sought by those with hardy attitudes?
- A challenging test one takes to affirm and strengthen personal values for success in life?