Trauma anniversaries are a common trigger of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms for Veterans. Understanding what trauma anniversaries are and how to deal with them is a crucial part of the treatment process.
Understanding How Trauma Anniversaries Affect PTSD
The term trauma anniversary typically refers to the anniversary of the date where you were injured or witnessed an event that led to your PTSD.
As the anniversary approaches, you may feel anxious, guilty, depressed, or angry. You may experience flashbacks of the event. You may go out of your way to avoid events, places, or people connected to your service. In some cases, you might experience physical symptoms with no identifiable cause—such as headaches, stomach pain, and extreme fatigue.
PTSD symptoms related to trauma anniversaries tend to be fairly short-lived. In most cases, Veterans start to feel better with a week or two. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the problem and wait for it to go away. It’s best to work with your care provider to plan healthy ways to acknowledge your trauma and continue to move forward. For example, you might choose to volunteer at an animal shelter in honor of a fellow servicemember killed in combat who always talked about his pets at home. Praying or attending worship services is another common way Veterans with PTSD choose to deal with trauma anniversaries.
Triggers Related to Trauma Anniversaries
In addition to experiencing a spike in PTSD symptoms on the specific anniversary of their service-related trauma, many Veterans report having difficulty on Veterans Day or their birthdays. Veterans Day reminds them of their conflicted experience serving their country, while their birthdays bring up a reminder of their past brush with death. The same coping skills recommended for trauma anniversaries can help manage these PTSD triggers.
Getting VA Disability Benefits for PTSD
PTSD is a complex mental health disorder that can affect nearly every aspect of your life. When your PTSD is connected to your service, VA disability benefits can provide access to medical care and cash compensation to make it easier to manage your condition. Contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim.