Why Am I Experiencing PTSD So Long After My Military Service?

While post-traumatic stress disorder can affect service personnel soon after they return from deployment, many veterans experience symptoms of PTSD much later in life—long after their time in the military. VA hospitals show a growing number of senior veterans seeking treatment for new PTSD symptoms.

As is the case with civilians, when some veterans get older they are faced with major life changes that can be triggers for PTSD and its accompanying symptoms. For example, veterans may eventually suffer significant medical issues after years of good health. The concern and distress they feel about their condition may cause them to become more aware of their own mortality and the end of their lives. This type of anxiety may bring about symptoms of PTSD.

There are, of course, other causes for later-in-life PTSD. Let me offer you a few examples.

One cause can be repressed feelings. For many Vietnam veterans, it was difficult to talk about their experiences because there was so much hostility and negativity about the war. In many cases, society viewed these veterans as the enemy—thus, veterans repressed feelings they had about their time in combat, creating psychological issues that surfaced later. Additionally, many veterans who served during the Vietnam era were told to “man up” about anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Later those emotions emerged through PTSD symptoms.

More leisure time can also trigger long dormant PTSD.  After veterans retire, they have more time to consider the past and reflect on the events they experienced during combat. Feelings they might have held back or suppressed over the years may emerge in a way that haunts them or causes them to relive a traumatic event. Employment is no longer a major part of their days, and without that as a distraction, their minds might wander into the past, often prompting flashbacks of difficult times.

As we get older death takes away more and more friends, family members, romantic partners, and maybe former military comrades. For veterans the death of people they care about can trigger thoughts and emotions of survivor guilt, remorse, regret, and loss for all that transpired in the past.

If you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD, the skilled legal staff at Cuddigan Law can help you obtain the disability benefits you need to care for yourself and your family. It’s possible that you qualify for financial assistance from the VA. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.


At Cuddigan Law you have a dedicated team of professionals in your corner who will fight for your rights.

 

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska