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Servicewomen and PTSD

July 20, 2011

“Women are not permitted to serve in direct ground combat in the U.S. armed forces, so by by military reasoning, they weren’t likely to suffer from combat related trauma.”  This quote was taken from the Saturday April 9, 2011 article in the Los Angeles Times on the front page called, “Combating an invisible injury” by Faye Fiore.  She goes on to  say that 230,000 women have served already in either Afghanistan or Iraq since 2001 which is approximately 15% of the deployed forces.  There have been more than 750 wounded in action and additional 137 killed.  As other statistics I already discussed the estimate is about 20% come home from their deployment suffering from PTSD.  At one point, the PTSD was not caused by combat but from sexual assault although this has changed to include combat as well.

Wars of today are not fought like wars in the past.  There are no front lines in this war and though the jobs do not entail direct fighting, service women are asked to drive trucks, act as photographers military police  or other jobs that are still exposed to roadside bombs and/or mortar attacks or other nerve wracking physical and mental assaults.   In a Department of Veteran Affairs Office report the Inspector General reported that women are denied PTSD benefits at a higher rate than men.

Women have served alongside their male counterparts and have served honorably.  Yet it has only been recently that  female PTSD has been examined.  The results seem to indicate that there is little statistical difference between men and women service people becoming PTSD sufferers.  PTSD has been treated effectively for year with cognitive behavioral therapy known as “talk therapy”.  This treatment is used to help the PTSD sufferer get their lives back in order. 

Resistance to going to a therapist is an obstacle that needs to be attacked by every means possible.  Family and friends must intervene and help guide these PTSD sufferers back to health.  It starts by opening up to someone.  This site is one small step to help in that direction.  Our clinical director, Dr. Jean Dzierzynski, Ph.D., Psy.D. has indicated that writing feelings in a blog is no substitute for actual therapy, it is a step in that direction.  By exposing the pain to the light it starts the healing process and makes the next step a bit more tolerable.  Encourage your loved one to come here and make their star back to mental health.