Many men and women in the military have significant problems adjusting to civilian life after active duty. They have problems sleeping. They are agitated and jumpy, easily angered. Thoughts and images about the war come back to them at unwanted times in unwanted ways. They often feel emotionally disconnected from others including family. These men and women were asked to become warriors and they did just that. They understand that the difficulties that they are having are simply part of the price they pay.
Our soldiers were trained to be tough. They are tough. They have been trained to know that there would be significant consequences to their military careers if they state they are having emotional problems secondary to combat. So they do what they consider to be reasonable, they tough it out.
If things would get better for these warriors this might be a reasonable strategy. The problem is that things often do not get better. Furthermore, there are lots of assumptions built into the description above that turn out not to be so accurate.
The problems listed in the first paragraph are examples of post traumatic stress (PTS). PTS is a totally normal response to being in combat. Notice I am not calling it a disorder. It really is not a disorder. The body adjusts to the intense levels of arousal during combat. The problem is that we do not do a good job helping our warriors reset their bodies to civilian life. If there is a disorder, it is in how we transition people back to civilian life. We do not teach our warriors how to get the stress out of their bodies immediately after a mission. You take shower and wash the dirt off. But most likely, soldiers are not taught how to get the stress induced energy out of their system.
The best methods that I know to take the stress out of the body are Energy Psychology methods such as EFT or TFT or Energy Medicine. They do not require extensive talking about the events. They work directly with the energy within and around the body. They are relatively easy and they are fast. One study found that EFT worked twice as fast in half the time than standard exposure therapy. In 6 sessions 86% of soldiers who met criteria for PTSD no longer met those critera. That is amazing. For those that want to read about the research go to www.energypsych.org/research. If you would like to see a movie of the amazing changes that people can have check out http://www.operation-emotionalfreedom.com
Dr Robert Schwarz is author of the book: Tools for Transforming Trauma. He has been working with trauma and vets for over 20 years.