This is a great question. There are multiple factors that impact how each person processes trauma.
1.) Perspective on how the person views their experience during the event. IF one soldier felt hopeless, helpless, extreme fear or horror, they are more likely to get PTSD.
2.) If one soldier feels guilt or shame (real or misplaced) related to the tragedy, they are more likely to experience PTSD.
3.) How each person views adversity matters. Some people view difficult times as an opportunity for growth or as a way to learn. They will remember how they felt during the event differently.
4.) Healthy Coping skills. Solid coping skills for mood and emotional pain, can help people overcome a tragedy.
5.) The time following the event is relevant as well. If the person processes the event in a healthy way, the symptoms could last less time. For example, Acute Stress Disorder is the appropriate diagnosis for symptoms lasting up to 4 weeks. If the PTSD symptoms persist after the first 4 weeks, then a PTSD Diagnosis is appropriate.
6.) Someone who has a history of Mental Health problems in the past is more likely to get PTSD.
7.) Substance abuse can also alter the way traumatic events are processed. Substance abuse is a risk factor for PTSD.
8.) If the person felt vulnerable before the war, this can add to the likelihood of PTSD.
9.) Genetics also play a role.
There are other factors as well, but this is a good list.
PTSD can be managed and treated. The event is now a part of the person and will not be forgotten. With this said, there are many modalities of treatments that can minimize the impact that PTSD has in daily functioning. Through therapy, medication and motivation, the event can be a thing of the past and not effect the present.
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