Life After Active Duty For Women
There are more women in the military than ever before. Researchers are finding that with many different kinds of stress through which women go, the amount of women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is going up.
The Different Types Of Stress Military Women Face
Combat Missions: Women aren’t always trained for combat. They often have to take part in stressful and dangerous situations with little to no training. With the amount of women in the military rising, they are seeing more hostile fire, returning fire and are getting hurt in the process. They are also seeing their fellow military members getting hurt. With the war in Iraq taking place in an urban environment it makes it hard for men and women to come home. There are many combat situations they go through that they are reminded of when they come back home, causing constant stress.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST): Many women are finding themselves in situations that they don’t want to be in. MST includes any activity where you are involved against your will such as: insulting sexual comments, unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault. This can cause tremendous stress on women and can lead to other difficulties.
Feeling Alone: When women are placed into tough military situations, they usually want to turn to their friends and people they trust. In some instances, women get deployed to a new group where they don’t know anyone. It takes time to build trusting relationships with this new group. This causes military members to feel alone and feel like they don’t have any support.
Worrying About Family: Military members often get deployed with very short notice. This causes major stress on women with young children or if they are caring for elderly relatives. They might be deployed at extensive lengths of time causing them to feel like they are “putting their life on hold.” When troubles arise at home, it leaves military members to feel overloaded. After women return home, they often find it hard to return to the “mom role.” They find themselves getting into more fights with their children.
When women find themselves dealing with the above stressors, women find it hard going back to civilian life. In time most women will adjust, but some find it hard and find out they have a more serious problem like PTSD.
PTSD In Women
With more women in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are finding when they return home that about 20 percent of the veterans have PTSD. That is, however, a lower number than the women who came back from Vietnam, where about 27 percent of women had PTSD.
Studies show that when women come home and are greeted with a high level of support from friends and family they were less likely to have symptoms of PTSD. Having someone to talk to and someone who really cares helped women to adjust easier to civilian life. They found when women had someone they could rely on and confide in that they were less likely to suffer from PTSD than those who had a small support system.
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