To David Chilcott: Thank you very much for all of the support and red tape you cut through!
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – 30 Years on
Fri 4th May 2012 Personal injury
For people of my generation, the Falklands conflict in 1982 was our first real time exposure to warfare; in its most gruesome form.
Long before the days of 24hr
satellite news stations, we rushed home from work and school (I was just 15) to
catch up with the days events on either the BBC or ITV. Few can forget the immortal words of BBC
journalist Brain Hanrahan watching a squadron of returning Harrier Jump Jets: ' I counted them all out and I counted them
What occurred before our very eyes had a profound affect on many, not least me as only a year later I enlisted in the Army. Whilst it was only a period of 10 weeks from invasion to the surrender at Port Stanley of the Argentine forces, the Falklands Conflict leaves a lasting legacy of physically and mentally scarred veterans. A dispute over sovereignty continues but I shall leave that for the politicians. It is one of those lesser known facts that of those who served in the conflict, the suicide toll is greater than 255, which is the number of men actually killed. In her article published today, Carolyn Wyatt reports that veterans charity Combat Stress is currently treating 210 veterans of the conflict, with the oldest being 74, and the youngest a sprightly 46.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is caused by exposure to trauma, be that a life threatening event, such as combat, to witnessing or being the victim of serious injury. In fact, any event which compromises your physical or emotional well-being can cause PTSD.
We all react differently and symptoms of PTSD are wide ranging. They can include:
- Feeling isolated;
- Frequent periods of withdrawal into oneself;
- Anger or aggressive behaviour;
- Feeling distrustful and suspicious/blaming others;
- Misuse of alcohol/drugs/gambling and/or food;
- Seeking out high-risk/dangerous pursuits;
- Work-related or relationship problems;
- Feeling numb and empty;
- Feeling suicidal;
- Self harm and self-destructive tendencies;
- Being easily moved to tears;
- Avoidance of people and places; and
- Panic attacks/anxiety/depression/mood swings.
Guys in the military have access to good medical care and they should now know how to look out for symptoms in themselves and others. Charities such as Combat Stress and Help for Heroes have enormous experience in offering support to veterans which quite frankly is not available on our overstretched NHS.
Do you or do you know of someone who displays some of those symptoms? Gone are the days when mental illness was treated with disdain. You must not allow it to eat you up and destroy your life and that of your loved ones. Don’t struggle alone. Get help because if you leave it, like rising damp, it will fester.
Senior Solicitor - Personal Injury team
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