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COVID PTSD: How Pandemic Stress Affects Veterans

COVID PTSD

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many different challenges at everyone in the United States over the past year. Unfortunately, the country isn’t in the clear yet. Even as the vaccine provides protection to more and more Americans, there are long-lasting side effects from the coronavirus pandemic, including COVID PTSD. But what exactly is COVID PTSD?

COVID PTSD is something that mental health researchers are just starting to notice, but the effects of this mental health condition have already impacted countless people who are still trying to cope with the stress of a pandemic. If you suspect that you might be one of these people who is struggling with COVID PTSD, this article is for you. Continue reading to find out more information about what COVID PTSD is, how it impacts veterans, and where you can get help for this condition today.

What Is COVID PTSD?

post-pandemic anxiety

To begin, let’s review what PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is all about. PTSD is a mental health condition that impacts thousands of veterans each and every year. Most commonly, PTSD comes with symptoms that range from experiencing environmental triggers to having flashbacks to the traumatic event.

Essentially, PTSD is one way for the brain to try to protect itself when there is simply too much stress or strain to process. PTSD can happen as a result of any traumatic event, but the reason why it is so common in veterans is because veterans go through high-risk tasks every day they are serving. Events such as being injured, witnessing death, and even being away from familiar surroundings for long periods of time can put a veteran at risk for developing PTSD.

So, how can COVID cause PTSD? Well, if you take a look at the risk factors listed above, you might notice that they aren’t that different from the circumstances that COVID has introduced. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were at serious risk for getting ill and witnessing loved ones and others becoming gravely ill. Additionally, the shutdowns and mandates for social distancing created a barrier between people and familiar surroundings. These are all very traumatic events that can trigger a PTSD response.

COVID PTSD Symptoms

Veterans who already struggled with PTSD or other mental health conditions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic are at an even greater risk for developing COVID PTSD. Post-COVID anxiety, depression, and PTSD are all serious conditions that can come with harmful symptoms. Though these symptoms can look different for everyone, some common signs of COVID PTSD include:

  • Feeling afraid to leave the house
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Being “on edge”
  • Flashbacks of being sick or seeing somebody else unwell
  • Avoidance of certain places, people, or activities (even if they are safe to do)
  • Drinking or using drugs to “cope” with uncomfortable emotions

If these symptoms sound at all familiar, you might have COVID PTSD. Though many of these scenarios are specific to post-COVID anxiety, they can also relate to PTSD in general. Regardless of where the concern is stemming from—whether that be service- or pandemic-related—it’s important to seek effective, professional treatment right away before the symptoms become more severe.

What Are the Treatment Options for COVID PTSD?

Treatment Options for COVID PTSD

Similar to treatment for other types of PTSD, COVID PTSD recovery should be individualized to your specific needs and goals. This is particularly important if you also struggle with substance abuse on top of a mental health condition. In those cases, dual diagnosis treatment through a residential facility can help you to get back on your feet.

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In residential treatment, there are a variety of approaches meant to help veterans. These include but are not limited to:

  • Safe detoxification
  • Individualized therapy
  • Group sessions
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Nutritional education
  • Job-ready training

All of these treatment methods aim to help veterans recover from current symptoms and learn coping strategies to deal with future stress, anxiety, and emotional triggers. Additionally, the most important aspect of getting treatment for COVID PTSD and any related concerns is having a safe, supportive environment to practice healing.

At a veteran-focused treatment facility, you have the opportunity to be treated by veterans and receive help alongside other military personnel. This sense of community is more vital than ever during COVID-19. Be sure to check with your treatment facility about COVID-19 protocols to make sure that you are protected as you begin your journey toward recovery.

Where to Get Veteran Addiction Treatment in Florida

Heroes’ Mile is a Florida-based, veteran-specific rehabilitation center that is made by veterans who truly understand all of the life changes and challenges that come after serving. We know the substantial impact addiction and PTSD can have on a veteran’s life. Our mission is to offer unique treatment paths that will help veterans feel supported and prepared to face all of the ups and downs that COVID-19 and any other unexpected challenges can bring.

For more information on COVID PTSD or any of the treatment options available to you, give us a call at 888-838-6692. Not quite ready to pick up the phone? We’ll meet you halfway by answering your questions submitted through our confidential contact form. Find community, support, and recovery with other veterans right by your side at Heroes’ Mile.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s mental health since the very beginning. In fact, as many as four in 10 American adults experienced mental health concerns during the pandemic, which is an increase from previous statistics on the prevalence of anxiety and depression. Overall, the pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and substance use disorders.

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There are many different ways that veterans can cope with stress, including seeing a mental health professional. When stress leads to other mental health concerns such as drinking or using drugs, the best way to cope with these challenges is to seek out treatment centers that specialize in addiction, mental health, and veteran-specific care.

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If you are a veteran who is struggling with PTSD, you are not alone—and you are not out of options. Treatment facilities like Heroes’ Mile are made by veterans for veterans who are looking for help with COVID PTSD, addiction, and more.

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Please note: For medical emergencies, please call 911. For other urgent matters, please call our admissions line 888-838-6692. Submissions after-hours, weekends, or holidays may experience a longer response time.

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