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At a glance: Post-traumatic stress disorder

At a glance: Post-traumatic stress disorder
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: July 8, 2012
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AT A GLANCE

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Returning service members experience combat stress, which is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Common stress and PTSD aren't that different. It's more of a matter of severity, frequency and intensity.

Combat stress is a response that can happen to anyone who has experienced a significantly stressful combat or operational event.

The term combat stress usually refers to a cluster of symptoms that can occur following exposure to significant stressors related to combat and operational events. It is generally viewed as a normal reaction to abnormal conditions. When someone experiences combat stress, it may be of a limited intensity or duration and require no help from a professional.

The symptoms of PTSD are more intense, more frequent and last longer than those of combat stress. The symptoms of PTSD include:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

• Flashbacks — reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating.

• Bad dreams.

• Frightening thoughts.

• Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person's everyday routine. They can start from the person's own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

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