Returning Home from a War Zone

Service members returning home from a war zone will usually experience a variety of reactions. Common physical reactions may include:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Stomach upset
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat or breathing
  • Existing health problems becoming worse

Common mental and emotional reactions may include:

  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Flashbacks
  • Anger
  • Feelings of guilt, nervousness, self-blame, or helplessness
  • Feeling sad, rejected or abandoned
  • Agitated and easily upset
  • Hopeless

Common behavioral reactions may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance
  • Avoiding other people
  • Drinking or smoking too much or using drugs
  • Poor self care
  • Aggressive driving habits

Having these reactions does not mean you have PTSD. Remember, these are common reactions to returning from the war zone. You may find it takes a year or longer to feel normal again. However, if these feelings continue longer than six to eight weeks, or if they begin to infringe on your daily life, you may want to consider seeking help.

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