Emotional Effects of War on Soldiers – It Can Be a Real Battle

Although being in a war is a very difficult experience for anyone to go through, there is one aspect of war which people who were not involved often do not understand. For many, the emotional effects of war on soldiers do not end when they come home. In fact, for many, returning home is only the beginning.

Many men and women in all branches of the military return home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This means that the extreme situations they witnessed or were a part of were beyond the normal range of one's ability to cope, and the trauma of these experiences stayed with them.

While each individual's range and severity of symptoms vary, the emotional effects of war on soldiers in terms of PTSD make the transition back to their home lives and personal relationships very difficult. They usually experience some degree of anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts or flashbacks, and nightmares, as the most common symptoms. Fear and anger are also common.

If the disorder is not recognized and treated, the results can range from interference in the person's everyday life to the possibility of suicide. In the past, not enough was known about the emotional effects of war on soldiers, and there were few resources available to help them. Fortunately, for today's soldiers there is much more knowledge about this subject, and many more available resources for help.

The person who has returned from war can seek assistance from mental health counseling. Many also find it useful to meet with others in veterans' organizations, because they are able to openly talk about their experiences with other people who have had similar experiences.

Other treatments include:

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – your therapist helps you change how you think about your trauma. Your goal is to understand how thoughts about your trauma cause you stress and make your symptoms worse.

2. Exposure therapy – In this type of therapy you are encouraged to talk about your trauma repeatedly. The patient learns how to get control of their thoughts and feelings about the trauma. They also learn that they do not have to be afraid of memories.

3. Medication – Serotonin, a type of antidepressant, can help you feel less sad and worried. And, it can help you to sleep better.

The emotional aspect of war on soldiers affects the people in their daily lives. In order for them to have the best chance of recovering from the trauma of war, it is essential that their families and friends are cooperative in encouraging them to get the help they need to recover and rebuild their lives.