Although female Veterans are less than 10% of the Veteran population, they are more than twice as likely as men to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their military service. Understanding their unique needs and providing access to appropriate care and support is essential to helping these women make the transition back to civilian life.
Types of Trauma Experienced by Female Veterans
Potential causes of PTSD for female Veterans include:
- Exposure to combat-related violence. Many women enter the military expecting that their service will avoid direct combat, but they are often asked to take part in stressful combat-support missions where they are exposed to hostile fire and casualties.
- Social isolation. Women don’t have access to the same atmosphere of support and teamwork that male soldiers experience. As a minority in the military, they often feel isolated and lonely—feelings that are only compounded for women of color.
- Worry about caregiving duties. Mothers of young children and women who serve as caregivers for older family members often find long deployments to be traumatic. They worry about the milestones they’ve missed, as well as how their service is affecting the people they care about.
- Military sexual trauma (MST). Women in the military are vulnerable to insulting sexual comments, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual assault. Sexual trauma is the type of non-combat PTSD stressor most likely to result in severe consequences to a Veteran’s mental health.
PTSD Affects Women Differently
Female Veterans often report a lack of social support when they return from their service because gender stereotypes leave many people to assume soldiers must be men. This can make it more difficult for them to get the care they need when experiencing the symptoms of PTSD.
Some of the gender-related differences in how Veterans experience PTSD include:
- Women are more likely to report feeling emotionally numb. Men are more likely to be angry and struggle to control their temper.
- Women are more likely to be diagnosed with co-occurring depression and anxiety. Men are more likely to have problems with substance abuse.
- Women are more likely to blame themselves for the trauma they’ve suffered. Men are more likely to believe that others can’t be trusted.
Getting the Disability Benefits You Deserve
As a female Veteran with service-connected PTSD, you are entitled to disability benefits that include medical care and cash compensation. Working with the Veterans benefits lawyers at the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, can maximize your chances of being approved for benefits. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.