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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Combat Trauma Management Tips

The Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona offers its patients a wide variety of services in its PTSD care program. Dr. Dennis Grant offers the following combat trauma management tips via the VAMC's PTSD Resources page.

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Dr. Grant's Combat Trauma Management Tips:

Make sure you have a Safety Plan for suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Keep a journal listing of your positive thoughts and memories of your military experiences to balance out any negative and destructive messages that you have accumulated through the years about your combat assignments, especially about wars that have been controversial in our history. Especially rediscover the positive experiences and memories from your combat assignment.

Understand how you are defined as an American and why you were willing to fight in a war. Thomas Jefferson defined an American when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and what an American believes in and fights for. Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address eloquently stated the same reasons.

Make sure you know your trauma anniversary dates, how they effect you emotionally and physically, and have a plan of action to manage them.

Practice the Cognitive Therapy principles taught in class:

  • Remember and discover in yourself that thoughts control feelings

  • Irrational thoughts are the ones that control problem emotions such as depression, survivor guilt, poor self-esteem, anxiety episodes, global anger, and others.

  • Write out your thoughts when experiencing problem emotions, discover the irrational ones, and write out rational ones that dispute and counter them. Use your group or staff to help with this if needed. Discuss these in your support group and compare experiences.

  • Keep a written record of these, add to them each time the problem emotion recurs, and review what you have written, especially the rational thoughts, when these problem emotions resurface.

  • Remember too, this takes practice and is an ongoing method to use more than once.
Remember: Combat PTSD is a sign of courage and bravery, not weakness.

If you'd like to get more information on this course, please contact Dr. Dennis Grant at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC PTSD program.

Related Resources

- First Aid for Combat PTSD
- Reconnecting with Your Kids After Deployment
- Coping Tips Following a Traumatic Loss
- More PTSD Resources (in right-hand column)

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