Mental Health Problems Before War Increases PTSD Probability

New research implies that war isnt necessarily the only reason some military personnel experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the study, researchers found that most of the soldiers who showed symptoms of PTSD had been experiencing mental health issues before they were even assigned to a war zone.

Recent research by Dr. Dorthe Berntsen and colleagues evaluated the mental states of almost 750 Danish soldiers in Afghanistan. They were tested five times total. Before, during and then three different times after their return to Denmark.

The results were quite surprising and showed PTSD developed depending on prior life occurrences. Many of the soldiers already had traumatic experiences before ever going to Afghanistan. The findings contradict the prior belief that PTSD only occurred after a violent experience.

Certainly war is a factor that contributes but it isn’t the only factor. PTSD sufferers do experience many symptoms besides just intrusive recollections. These are horrible memories that force their way into their consciousness and can be truly disabling for the victim.

Sometimes they become unpleasant flash backs from war and can cause disturbing mood changes. It will cause some individuals to dwell excessively on their situation and lose their self-confidence.

Research showed that some may have many pleasant recall experiences daily and that war experiences don’t cause negative effects with all soldiers. Most of the soldiers are resistant, in fact and don’t say their combat-zone experience has caused a huge problem.

Bernsten said that by far the greatest population of soldiers in their survey fell in the robust category and were less educated than others. Many had only attended lower secondary education, said Bernsten.

Those in the robust group were certainly a resistant group and don’t easily allow themselves to be impacted by their everyday life situation before, during or after their Afghanistan tour.