The hardest part for any returning soldier is making the adjustment from the war zone to civilian life. An adjustment period should be expected, however, and doesn't mean a returning soldier is suffering from more serious issues, according to a new book by a clinical psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Central Florida.
In her book "Taming the Fire Within - Life After War," Dr. Anne Freund said people often confuse Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome with what she calls Post Combat Reactions. "Nobody walks away from combat unscathed," Freund said.
"But the term 'disorder' often conveys a stigma that fosters guilt, shame, confusion and the inability to communicate with others who can relate and help them. We want veterans to realize that they are not alone. When combat is over, the experience still continues. It's time to break the silence so healing can begin."
Freund said about 20 percent of returning soldiers have clinical PTSD and veterans often confuse normal adjustment reactions with more serious issues. Because of the fear of being labeled as having PTSD, the veterans don't reach out for help and suffer alone.
"There's a big different between PTSD and Post Combat Reactions. PCR is the normal reaction everybody has after war. We've seen it in wars since battles have first been fought. Everybody is walking around acting like they are fine and they are dealing with PCR. What they don't realize is everyone is affected by war and that's normal," Freund said.
Freund has worked with combat veterans, paramedics, firefighters and police officers on the impact of stress in their lives for almost 25 years. She said PCR is a normal occurrence and one that can be treated. "We just want to break the silence and help eliminate the stigma," Freund said.
A free digital copy of the book "Taming the Fire Within - Life After War," is available at www.wwetributetothetroops.com in PDF format to be viewed on PC, Android devices, Kindle, iPhone and iPad. Paperback copies are also available for purchase from amazon.com.
By Leada Gore