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Supporting Veterans with PTSD: Recognizing Signs and Providing Help

In 1980, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was identified as a distinct disorder with a specific set of symptoms and was officially added to the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s very important to recognize the prevalence of PTSD in veterans, most often this population will not talk about what happened during the war. At times, PTSD occurs against someone’s will with flashbacks. They happen involuntarily. Psychological clues and triggers cause these flashbacks. Things like loud noises, smells, laughter, etc. Individuals aware of the triggers start avoiding these triggers and this affects quality of life.

At times, many veterans feel isolated. They don’t discuss it because they feel we will not understand.

Some of them were ridiculed for fighting in certain wars, like Vietnam. They didn’t come home with a lot of fanfare.

 Here are some of the signs and symptoms to look for when someone is starting to have some anxiety around PTSD.

  • Hopelessness/powerlessness

  • Deficit knowledge

  • Ineffective coping

  • Sleep pattern disturbance

  • Dysfunctional grieving

  • Impaired social interaction

  • Physical sensations; pain, sweating, nausea, trembling

  • Fear


If a veteran or family notices these signs, they should contact the person’s physician about their symptoms. The physician will be able to give their recommendations.  As Behavioral Health Nurses at AccentCare, their goal is to ease the PTSD symptoms. They do several things. They provide a safe place. They interact with guided imagery, and sometimes they just sit in silence with them. Here are other ways to help veterans cope with PTSD:

  • Mindfulness meditation: Increasingly, meditation and mindfulness-based relaxation techniques have been shown to help manage a range of disorders.

  • Regain focus through physical activity.

  • Aromatherapy or Art Therapy

  • Pets for PTSD

 This is a challenging time for veterans with PTSD as they watch news coverage of current conflicts. One of their seasoned Behavioral Health Nurses is treating a patient who is dealing with feelings of dread and fear due to the current state of the world. He was in the Korean war, and he states this new war is triggering his PTSD. He’s spending his days watching all the news programs.  He’s very emotional, tearful, reminiscing about his time in the war. So, this is a very challenging time for patients who suffer from PTSD.

 The greatest way we can support our Veterans’ mental health, not just suffering from PTSD, but overall issues of depression and anxiety, is to have better availability of resources. There’s a need for more clinician appointments. It’s very hard to get an appointment for services through the V.A. It can take between 6-8 weeks to get the first appointment.

 With that difficulty to receive care, home health services have played a very important role in the support of veterans. As Behavioral Health Nurses, they are able to come to where they are. Seeing patients in their homes provides a level of comfort, safety, and security. They touch base with them weekly, so they can catch changes, and prevent repeat hospitalizations. “In my experience, having home health has helped veterans work through many obstacles, given them a sense of purpose, and feel that they have support from the community and loved ones.” Cheryl Cox, Registered Nurse and AccentCare Regional Behavioral Health Manager said.

Cox has been working in the mental behavioral health field for over 12 years. She has been working in behavioral health with Veterans and other patients for AccentCare for almost 8 years. As a Nurse for over 30 years, she has enjoyed working in the healthcare industry and assisting those wanting to improve their mental health.

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Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
Fax: 254-729-0362