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Commando News December 2016

Post-traumatic Stress:

Post-traumatic Stress: How Psychological Treatment Can Help with Key Challenges, Depression, and Improving Close Relationships When we hear the term 'post-traumatic stress disorder' (PTSD) most of us think of the classic symptoms of flashbacks, nightmares, hyper-arousal, and avoidance of triggers. However, recent research has shown that the most common mental health concern following a traumatic experience is depression. PTSD can be caused by exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence. This includes experiencing the event yourself, witnes - sing the event, repeated exposure to details of trauma (e.g. police or ambulance drivers, armed services personnel), or hearing about the trauma experienced by someone close to you. Surviving events like natural disasters and accidents seems to be less of a risk than surviving intentional acts of violence, or prolonged or repeated traumatic events. Higher rates of PTSD (up to 50%) are seen in survivors of intentional acts of violence or prolonged/repeated events than in survivors of nonintentional trauma such as natural disasters or accidents (around 10%). There has been a big shift in our understanding of PTSD. We now know that almost anyone exposed to traumatic events which are severe and repeated enough, will develop PTSD symptoms. We also under stand that for some people the effects of traumatic experiences can accumulate. For example, if you experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse you are more at risk of developing PTSD in response to a traumatic event in adulthood. There are four key challenges in managing trauma. Firstly, the re-experiencing of the trauma. This is the brain's way of processing and trying to make sense of an event or series of events that are un - speak able and filled with horror. Secondly, there is the avoidance of triggers that may lead to the distressing re-experiencing of the trauma. Thirdly, the experience of cognitive and emotional symptoms which can include having negative and distorted beliefs about life, and difficult feelings such as anger, shame, and guilt. Finally, there is the hyper-arousal that people who have experienced a trauma often feel. This can include being hyper-vigilant to danger, startling easily (e.g. to unexpected noises), verbal and physical aggression, reckless and self-destructive behaviour (caring less about own safety when driving, drug and alcohol use), difficulty concentrating. Sleep is also frequently impacted. Sometimes through nightmares and sometimes because the person is too alert to feel sleepy. Over time, all of these challenges can lead to depression, distance in close relationships, diffi - culties communicating and experiencing positive shared emotions in relationships as well as feeling disconnected from others and like no one can really understand what it is like. These are difficult symptoms to cope with but research tells us that complete recovery of PTSD symptoms occurs in approximately half of the people who have experienced trauma. There is research evidence that the kind of social support you have before and after a traumatic event has an impact on how severe PTSD symptoms are likely to be. Psycho - logists can help you to develop more effective strategies to manage the symptoms of trauma and reduce their severity, frequency and impact. Psycho - logists can also help with the treatment of depression and help the person who has experienced the traumatic event integrate the event into their experience of life overall, helping to address anxiety, negative and difficult beliefs and emotions. Most importantly, psychologists can help a person who has experienced trauma to reconnect with loved ones, improve communication and the quality of close relationships. If you or a person close to you is suffering with the symptoms of trauma, help is available. Written by Rebecca Urie & Dr. Elke Kellis from “The Red Couch Counselling & Psychology Clinic” 4 COMMANDO NEWS ~ Edition 9 I December 2016

NSW Welfare Officer’s Report DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS: DVA is undergoing, a lot of changes, which should be completed by the end of 2016. See below for some of them. GPO Box 9998, in capital city. Ph: 133 254 or 1800 555 254. Email: General Enquiries@dva.gov.au www.dva or www.dva factsheet index (or list). 1. DEFINITION OF A VETERAN: (Just in case you missed it, last time.) This has changed recently from, a member of Australia’s Defence Force who has served overseas. The new definition of a veteran is; anyone who has been a member of ADF, including reservists, civilians and cadets, irrespective of whether they have served overseas or not. Advise your doctors of this change, as they may not be aware of this. By Brian Dunbar Contact me if you require further information or wish to talk to me in confidence. 2. VETERANS’ CLAIMS: DVA has reduced the requirements for liability for 5 medical conditions. There are now 13 medical con - di tions streamlined for acceptance of liability under Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA) & the Military & Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). All you need is a doctor’s certificate. Show this to your doctors anyway, as they may not be aware of the changes. VEA covers service in wartime and certain opera - tional deployments, as well as certain peacetime service between 7 December 1972 – 30 June 2004. Google DVA VEA for more details. MRCA provides rehabilitation and compensation coverage for members of the ADF who served on or after 1 July 2004. Google DVA MRCA for more details. DIAGNOSED MEDICAL CONDITION STREAMLINED STREAMLINED LIABILITY LIABILITY FOR CLAIMS OR CLAIMS UNDER UNDER VEA MRCA Chondromalacia patella (Deterioration of kneecap cartilage) NO YES Internal derangement of the knee NO YES Malignant melanoma. (Harmful skin cancer) YES YES Pterygium. ( A growth over the eye) YES YES Tinea. (Fungal skin disease) YES YES Achilles tendinopathy & bursitis. (Degenerative Achilles tendon & small fluid-filled sacs) NO YES Acquired cataract. (Abnormality of the eye) YES YES Non-melanotic malignant neoplasm of the skin. (Some forms of skin cancers) YES YES Plantar fasciitis. (Pain in the heel and bottom of the foot NO YES Sensorineural hearing loss. (Deafness in inner ear) YES YES Shin splints. (Pain along the shin) NO YES Solar keratosis. (Damaged skin from the sun) YES YES Tinnitus. (Ringing noise in the ears or head) YES YES WELFARE OFFICER’S REGIONAL CO-ORDINATORS: Guys, I’m trying to find Association members in different regions to assist me, by co-ordinating the welfare work for members in their region. Let me know if you are interested in doing this, in your region? It would also be appreciated, if you would let me know of members who are sick, in hospital etc, so that I can contact them, to support both Keep "Striking Swiftly" - perhaps not as swiftly as we used to - ay!! Brian Dunbar NSW Welfare Officer Ph: (02) 9452 2589 E: dunbar33@bigpond.com COMMANDO NEWS ~ Edition 9 I December 2016 5

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