first_imgThis post was written by Kimberly Quinn, University of Florida M.Ed./Ed.S. Candidate, 1Lt Florida Army National Guard and Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT, Social Media Specialist.  Both are members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn. By Kimberly Quinn & Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFTIn the last 12 years, the United States military has diagnosed over 103 thousand new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in deployed service members and over 25 thousand new cases in non-deployed service members [1]. To receive a diagnosis of PTSD, individuals must meet diagnostic criteria inclusive of displaying a certain number of symptoms that cause significant distress and/or disruption.  In addition, there must be some sort of traumatic stressor leading to these symptoms. Full diagnostic criteria for PTSD can be found here. Those that suffer from the effects of trauma without being diagnosed with PTSD are considered to have post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). The intensity of PTSS varies, however, the impact does not reach the severity level of PTSD.  The table below highlights PTSD symptoms included in the new Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-V):American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.Mixon, K. (2013). Kacy Mixon permits eXtension.org to use her personal photo.Spouses and children of service members who deploy can experience secondary traumatic stress (STS)–or significant levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms [2].  This can also be termed vicarious trauma, secondary trauma or secondary post-traumatic stress disorder. These symptoms have negative effects on couple [2] and family functioning.  Specific symptoms of post-traumatic stress [3] that negatively affect couple and family functioning include:Mixon, K. (2013). Kacy Mixon permits eXtension.org to use her personal photoThe good news is that there are steps families can take to prevent the negative effects of PTSD and STS. The following links to resources that can help military families and those that play a supportive role in their lives gain awareness about common stressors, preventative strategies and interventions related to PTSD.Stress Free Kids-Military FamilySecondary Trauma TrainingNational Child Traumatic Stress Network (NTCS)-Military FamiliesNTCS Learning Center References[1] Fischer, H. (2010). U.S. military casualty statistics: Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom [2] Melvin, K. C., Gross, D., Hayat, M. J., Jennings, B. M., & Campbell, J. C. (2012). Couple functioning and post‐traumatic stress symptoms in US army couples: The role of resilience. Research in Nursing & Health, 35(2), 164-177. [3] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.last_img

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