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by Lennie Omalza, staff writer

 

PTSD is usually diagonosed if the symptoms list below persist for more than one month: intrusive memories, vivid flashbacks, avoidance behavior, and hyperactive behavior.

These symptoms can cause difficulty sleeping, outbursts of anger, irritability, difficulty concentrating, constant fear for safety, easy startlement, and guilt feelings, especially when one has survived and others died.

Although there is no known ways to prevent the disorder, there is evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy help prevent its development. Professional counseling and stress management activities may reduce the frequency of symptoms and facilitate healing.

Several stories in different newspapers in America have touched on the subject of PTSD in the military; sometimes the disorder is referred to as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue.”

An April 2002 Associated Press article reported that in March, 31-year-old Sergeant James Pitts murdered his wife, Tara Pitts, after returning from deployment in Iraq. Some of those involved in the case have suggested that Pitt’s action was the result of PTSD caused by his experiences in Iraq. For example, Pitts’ father said “I loved [Tara] like my daughter. [James] is not my son anymore. I feel my son is still in Iraq. You can thank George W. Bush for this.”

Similar cases from earlier this year include 20-year-old Saxon Rech and 19-year-old Brandon Bare. Rech killed his girlfriend and Bare stabbed his wife to death; both were Iraq war veterans from Washington state.

Since 2003, there have been seven homicides and three suicides in Western Washington involving active troops or veterans returned from Iraq.

HPU freshman Kalani Ka‘ana‘ana, who plans on joining the U.S. Air Force after graduation, is aware of the presence of PTSD in the military and said that he has family members who suffer from the disorder. He said, “PTSD is a real concern of mine; one day I don’t want to be a burden to my family.”

The Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System in Honolulu runs a PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program. Here, combat veterans suffering from PTSD can reside in the hospital while receiving psychotherapy, counseling, medication management, and consultation without inconveniencing, or endangering, their families.

 
 
 

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