Millions of women have served the United States in the military. Many of those women have walked away from their service without injuries and psychological issues, but some of them have battled PTSD caused by a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Combat – Women soldiers are exposed to life or death situations while serving their country. These situations can include being shot, having to shoot others, being injured and watching fellow soldiers be killed or wounded. The constant fear that many soldiers experience may be overwhelming, since soldiers need to consistently be prepared for combat to begin.
- Military sexual trauma – Military sexual trauma is another prevalent condition among women veterans and can cause PTSD. Military sexual trauma can occur when any unsolicited sexual comments, sexual advances, sexual acts or demands for sexual stimulation are put forth upon a woman solider. These unwelcome advances may come from superiors who also present the woman with the threat of discharge, the threat of not being promoted or the threat of defaming her character.
- Children and family – Women often find it difficult to be away from their families and children while serving in the military. Witnessing traumatic acts during combat can cause depression and anxiety for soldiers, as they may become fearful of never seeing their loved ones again.
Treatment programs for PTSD can vary based on the needs of the woman but often strive to help her develop strong coping mechanisms and skill sets designed to promote her recovery. The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of options for treatment of women veterans, including the following:
- Stress Disorder Treatment Teams (SDTT) – This type of treatment is an outpatient treatment for women that focuses on the psychological trauma that has occurred in the female soldier’s mind. Therapists and doctors are available to help the patient work through her trauma in ways that can lead her in the direction of recovery.
- Inpatient treatment – Inpatient treatment can be beneficial to women who are deeply affected by PTSD. In these programs, women can chose to undergo treatment with only women patients or with women and male patients together. Women commonly choose to heal among other women, since the patient’s PTSD may have been triggered by the actions of men.
- Health centers – Various types of health centers and clinics are also commonly available so women soldiers can reach out to doctors and therapists in their areas for help finding recovery from their PTSD.
In addition to the trauma of combat, women soldiers are often subjected to sexual harassment and abuse that can cause serious damage to their psyches. Finding a professional female-focused treatment program can help women veterans break away from the confines of PTSD and find lasting recovery.
Finding Help for Women Veterans with PTSD
If you or someone you love is struggling with PTSD, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about post-traumatic stress disorder and how it can affect women veterans. We can also help connect you with the best treatment solutions for your situation. Please call now.