The Effects of Trauma on Military Members and Their Families

Jun 13, 2024
The Effects of Trauma on Military Members and Their Families
Military members who have seen combat and war suffer unthinkable stress and trauma – but it doesn't just affect them. Read on to find out how trauma affects those in the military and how it significantly impacts their families.

A calling to serve in the military is one of the highest honors you can have – but it doesn't come for free. Although it's a noble calling, the military also has a significant effect on your stress levels and mental health.

Not everyone that serves in the military faces post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and flashbacks – but those who do have significant struggles at work and home.

The good news is there's help available to military members and their families after trauma to help everyone heal. At Pacific Phoenix TMS, Dr. Elia R. Rodriguez-Gonzalez offers various interventions to help veterans struggling with mental health issues in the greater Portland area.

Dr. Rodriguez-Gonzalez is an experienced and board-certified psychiatrist who provides transcranial magnetic stimulation, counseling, and medications for veterans and their families affected by trauma.

What is military trauma?

The military is an excellent way to serve your country, see the world, and get specialized education and training – but it doesn't come without a cost. Many people who enter the military end up deployed overseas, away from their families for months to years.

Trauma can happen anywhere, though – it could occur during basic training, on a mission in a war zone, or at the barracks on your home turf. Both men and women are affected by military trauma, and it often has lasting effects on their mental health.

The most known type of trauma is that which occurs on the battlefield in war zones. Military members overseas may see the death of friends, have to kill others to save their lives, or be involved in bombings or IEDs.

That type of trauma sticks with someone long after they've come home. War is traumatic in itself, but having to live it day in and day out over a year takes a significant toll on someone's mental health.

Other types of trauma impact military members as well. There's sexual trauma that happens between men and women, and being away from loved ones for long periods can also affect mental health.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are two leading forms of mental health disorders among military members after trauma. Without help, both veterans and active military members are at risk for suicidal ideation and attempts, which affect their families, too.

Effects on those in the military

PTSD is highly prevalent in military members, especially those who have deployed overseas and been involved in war. The effects of what they've seen and experienced often stay with them, sometimes for life.

After coming home, PTSD takes hold of the veteran's life, causing relationship strains, work issues, and mental health distress. They may have flashbacks that interfere with their sleep, only adding to their mental health issues.

The trauma of PTSD takes over their lives, making it hard to keep up with daily tasks, relationships, and work. For many veterans, it's simply too much to handle, causing them to abuse alcohol and drugs or have suicidal thoughts.

PTSD is serious and has a profound impact on veterans and their families and friends. The trauma they've experienced isn't something they can just talk to anyone about, further complicating the condition.

Many veterans don't seek help because they're embarrassed that they can't control their emotions alone – which leads to even more distress. However, seeking treatment at Pacific Phoenix TMS is easy since we are in-network with Tricare insurance, which covers most military members and their families.

How does trauma affect the family?

Most people think of PTSD as only a veteran or military member issue – but it affects many more people, including spouses, children, and friends. Veterans with PTSD are often difficult to live with while they're dealing with flashbacks and nightmares of their trauma.

Your loved one may altogether avoid social situations and spend days in bed when they're dealing with severe depression or nights without sleep from flashbacks.

Veterans often have a high divorce rate and marital problems, especially after returning from combat. They don't usually open up to their spouses about what they've seen and the issues they're dealing with.

Children are also affected by veterans who've lived through trauma. They may have behavioral problems or act out to get attention from their mom or dad, who's going through mental distress. Parents may have a more challenging time with their children, causing even more distance between family members.

However, you don't have to live with these issues – treatment is as easy as contacting our team to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rodriguez-Gonzalez. She provides a fast evaluation and offers treatment options like counseling, TMS therapy, and ketamine infusions to help you deal with PTSD and depression.

Call one of our conveniently located offices in Salmon Creek or East Vancouver, Washington, today to schedule an appointment for veteran services, or request a consultation on our website.