Veterans ‘thankful’ for help

Veterans crisis
Veterans crisis

ARMY veterans suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can take years to get the right treatment with it not obvious they are suffering the condition.

But with the help of Southern Health’s Fareham and Gosport Community Health team, former servicemen and women are getting the help they need a lot quicker - aiding them in their recoveries.

Anita Webb, a psychological therapist at Southern Health who specialises in treating veterans, says diagnosing the condition is key with it easily confused with other illnesses. But with there now greater awareness of PTSD   more veterans are getting the help they need.

Veterans -  who  are particularly prone to suffering with PTSD – manifest  with  three main symptoms. They include bei ng on constant high alert, having flashbacks and avoidance - all of which can play out in normal day life.

‘Veterans are trained to run towards danger and be hyper vigilant which is opposite to most people,’ Anita said.

‘So if they are in a supermarket they could be worried about who is going to come around the corner. With the flashbacks they are constantly reliving the trauma while with  avoidance they try to avoid situations that may trigger it.

‘Treatment through the mainstream medical system can take years for veterans to get the help the need - with it e asily mistaken for other conditions like depression and anxiety.

‘But diagnosis is improving. There has been government intervention and funding from which has helped raise the profile of the illness. However, by nature veterans don’t want to get help with it seen as a weakness. They are taught to survive not seek help for treatment.’

Veterans receive a variety of treatments via the Southern Health service which include cognitive behaviour therapy methods where veterans are trained to reprocess past memories that have been troubling them.

They are also given access to a range of services such as  italk,   as well as accommodation and substance abuse services.    

‘There can be an overlap with other conditions but despite being sceptical to begin with veterans are grateful in the end,’ Anita added.