Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: PTSD and Holidays – Plan For It

(full article here) Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military. For most of us, the holidays are parties and food, and a happy time when we reconnect with faith, family and friends. For some, it’s a time of heightened stress. Feeling some stress during the holiday season is normal — keeping track of everyone’s wish lists is one example. However, for combat veterans who recently returned from theater or those diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the holidays can bring special challenges for both them and their family. PTSD symptoms including nightmares, avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event, feeling numb and keyed up at times can make the holidays difficult to manage. While you may be feeling happy and celebratory, your veteran may be feeling detached, lonely and frustrated with the bright lights, loud noises and large crowds. If your loved […]