PTSD Among Female Soldiers Has Lasting Effects on Motherhood

Female soldiers returning home from war are finding their own struggles coping with day-to-day tasks of motherhood. Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a female is becoming more and more common as the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq has grown. Nearly 350,000 women are serving in the armed forces since 2009, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Of those numbers, an estimated 20 percent are being diagnosed with PTSD, similar to their male coworkers. In a CNN Health article, a Palo Alto, Calif., veteran shared her story of coping with PTSD. Staff Sgt. June Moss came home from the war damaged. The stress of active duty played on her ability to be a mother to her children. She told of night terrors and decapitated heads. The stress was so much she even attempted to take her own life by slashing her wrists. Similar to alcoholism or drug addiction, managing PTSD is an ongoing process. Moss was able to seek trauma treatment and support from her local VA. Like other female soldiers, Moss decided her family was worth getting the help she desperately needed. According to Natara Garovoy with the Women’s Prevention, Outreach & Education Center, women are more commonly diagnosed with PTSD than men. Returning male soldiers tend to battle drug addictions. In the years since her retirement from the Army, Moss says she has continued treatment but knows all too well what happens when she stops. A violent outburst in her office left her on an unpaid suspension and a feeling of failure. She picked herself up and sought support from her boss, a VA chaplain. She has learned to deal with her PTSD and realizes that undue stress must be eliminated. Constant therapy, diet and exercise have kept her on a steady road to recovery. Since beginning treatment, she was able to attend an out-of-state trip and a concert with her daughter.

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