Victory Clinic Combats Stress, Anxiety
By Army Sgt. Laura M. Bigenho
28th Public Affairs Detachment
In a deployed environment, few things are guaranteed. Stress is one.
â€œStress is like change. Itâ€™s inevitable,â€ said Army Sgt. Wendy Barnes, mental health non-commissioned officer in charge, 785th Medical Company Combat Stress Clinic. â€œNo person is immune to it.â€
Stress is â€œany demand placed on a person physically or mentally,â€ said Barnes, a San Antonio resident. She and her co-workers at the Victory Combat Stress Clinic are here to help personnel manage those demands, which are commonly known as combat stress.
Barnes said there are many misconceptions surrounding combat stress. One of those misconceptions is that combat stress is directly combat related. Most cases of combat stress stem from family issues, financial difficulties or mission-related stressors such as sleep deprivation.
â€œA majority of the folks we talk to here have stress that is not necessarily related to combat, but is related to deployment and being separated from family,â€ Barnes said.
â€œMost people wind up coming here at some point because their coping strategies arenâ€™t working anymore.â€
Barnes said another big misconception is that troops think their careers will be put in jeopardy if they seek help. The military is trying to spread the word that mental health clinics are here to help â€” not hinder â€” troops.
â€œWeâ€™re not out to cause problems in their careers or professional development,â€ Barnes said. â€œThereâ€™s no way to fully avoid stress, but there are healthy coping strategies we can offer them.â€
Army Capt. Wendy Wang, psychiatrist, 785th Medical Co. CSC, said the good news is that combat stress is treatable. The first step to treatment is having the courage ask for help.
â€œThe beauty of it all is thereâ€™s something you can do about (combat stress),â€ said the Queens Village, N.Y., resident. â€œA lot of times our stress is relieved by just talking it out with people who understand and who will make you feel accepted and validated.â€
Barnes said the military is working to make others more aware of combat stress so those affected will have the courage to seek help rather than hide.
â€œEverybody is unique. Some people can do a good job hiding their manifestations of stress, but itâ€™s going to leak out somehow or be noticed by somebody,â€ she said.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to normalize (combat stress) so that others can recognize certain reactions as opposed to incorrectly labeling someone as being weak,â€ Wang added.
Barnes said she reminds troops that it is important to look out for their buddies. Getting to know them and being on the lookout for sudden changes in their behavior are two ways to determine whether or not people are suffering from combat stress.
â€œGetting help sooner could potentially prevent worse consequences from developing,â€ Barnes said.
â€œCombat stress happens to more people than you think,â€ Wang added. â€œYouâ€™re not alone.â€
The Victory Combat Stress Clinic is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Table of contents for PTSD
- Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
- PTSD, Mild TBI Chain Teaching Begins at Pentagon
- Treatments for PTSD
- Who Is Major Gamal Awad – Surprising Answers
- Victory Clinic Combats Stress, Anxiety
- Dealing With Brain Injuries
- Battlemind training
- A Woman on a Mission
- Helping Soldiers Cope With PTSD
- Purple Heart for PTSD?
- Little Miracles in Treating Combat Stress
- Americaâ€™s Heroes at Work
- SEALs Spearhead Resiliency Program
- Elmendorf Medics Treat TBI Victims
- Combatting Stress in Iraq
- More on Army Suicide Prevention
- New PTSD Program at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
- Soldier conquors suicide thoughts
- Marines go to the dogs
- Progress in the Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Fort Hood massacre survivors cope in Iraq
- National Naval Medical Center’s psychological health – traumatic brain injury team
- One Airman’s PTSD Story
This entry was posted on Monday, December 10th, 2007 at 10:00 am and is filed under Medicine, Military. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.