If you’ve returned home from a combat zone, you have likely experienced trauma, and almost all people who have experienced a trauma have some posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as a result; however, this does not necessarily mean that you have combat PTSD. In order to be diagnosed with combat PTSD, a formal assessment must be made by a healthcare professional and you must have a set number of symptoms that raise to a certain level of severity. You cannot determine, yourself, if you have a diagnosis of PTSD.
There are changes in the brain in someone with combat PTSD and the symptoms they have fall into the categories of:
- Re-experiencing – a reliving of the past event
- Avoidance – avoidance of situations that remind you of the traumatic event
- Arousal – a feeling of being “keyed up” and always on the lookout for danger
- Negative changes in beliefs and feelings