Who’s looking after the mental health of our Armed Forces?

A Heavy Cross

In 2018 the UK armed services lost more people to suicide in one year than during a decade on Afghanistan’s battlefields. 71 military personnel took their lives that year. 19.7% of MOD personnel suffer PTSD or other mental health problems at any given time.13% admitted to alcohol abuse, hyperarousal, irritability and use of alcohol.

Our soldiers young and old on the battlefield are faced daily with traumatic experiences most of us wouldn’t encounter in a lifetime. It is not human for them to bear this level of trauma stoically. However brave. And brave they are.

Being told to ‘man up’ is only encouraging them to hide or be ashamed of normal physiological responses to traumatic events.

Political Intervention Required

While the government is busy changing laws to make our soldiers accountable for their actions while abroad (which they ought to be), they must also look for and address the root cause of problems soldiers are having and address PTSD in the armed forces before it reaches crisis proportions. Our soldiers are taking on these problems while in defence of our nation. Let’s make sure our nation looks after our soldiers.

What is PTSD?

When we endure persistent (or even one-off) traumatic events we cannot intellectually process our brain’s frontal lobe shuts down. It’s a physiological reaction affecting executive functioning.

Spotting Symptoms

Different individual responses include:

Hyperarousal – Manifested hyperactivity, insomnia, lack of concentration, irritability, anxiety, outbursts and panic. This is when our nervous system is in the fight or flight response state.

Re-Experiencing – recurrent nightmares and flashbacks – reliving physical memories at the smallest stimulus (or no trigger). Nausea. Sweating. Exaggerated automatic responses to life experiences or physical stimuli.

Avoidance – New studies in nervous system responses (The Polyvagal Theory) have pointed out a third response to danger (in addition to fight or flight) – Freeze. Primates would instinctively play dead to save themselves. We still do this. This response leads to depression, anxiety, hopelessness and social withdrawal.

Low self-esteem, sound sensitivity, headaches, anger, difficulty concentrating, rumination, self-harm and addiction are also common responses seen in those suffering from PTSD.

What you can do to help

About seven or eight out of every 100 people (7-8%) will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives making the understanding of PTSD statistics and facts very important. Considering this significant figure, it is likely that you, or someone you know, will suffer from PTSD at some point. Don’t ask brave folk to man-up. Flag off symptoms seen in family and friends and suggest they get help using neurofeedback, talk therapies or a blend of different therapies to help heal the trauma.

Neurofeedback for Healing Minds

In 1990 there was a cohort of Vietnam veterans who had suffered years of recurrent nightmares and flashbacks resorting to drugs and alcohol to cope. A study with a specific form of Neurofeedback therapyAlpha Theta training was first brought to clinical practice by Eugene Peniston to help them.

The therapy (then) saw a significantly greater improvement in the mental health issues and a lower relapse rate with substance abuse than with talk therapy alone. Fast forward thirty years, we have a whole arsenal of powerful neurofeedback technologies (non-invasive and drug-free) to train the brain to sub-consciously resolve traumatic memories. Studies show a decline in severity of symptoms of over 50% within 20 sessions of therapy. The habits and fears that trigger uncomfortable feelings and behaviours are negated. We are able to safely process traumatic memories while in a deeply relaxed state.

What is Neurofeedback Therapy?

Non-invasive. Drug free. A very comfortable experience.

A revolution in mental health provision, Neurofeedback (and we at TheBrainCollective) train or re-train your brain using a range of advanced EEG technologies (technically dubbed neuromodulation modalities) to facilitate optimum self-regulation and stability for fantastic mental health.

Help for All

We are looking to start a charitable foundation to help soldiers, emergency service professionals, the NHS and Social Care with affordable or free neurofeedback therapy – specifically those who may not be able access this help privately. If you wish to be a part of this journey, please contact us.

Get Help Now

We are currently offering neurofeedback therapy in private practice. To learn more, go to Neurofeedback, Your Journey with Us or telephone us to book a free consultation.

Comments are closed.

  • We Are Proud Members Of