MENTAL HEALTH SELF-ASSESSMENTS
Did you know the estimated number of combat Service Members, Veterans who suffer from signature wounds such as invisible injuries of combat trauma, traumatic brain injury (or both) is 1 in 3?
These signature wounds include painful symptoms such as flashbacks, avoidance, isolation, hyper-arousal reactions including anger outbursts. Operation Red Wings Foundation’s Post-traumatic Growth Programs include education for Service Members, Veterans and their family members on the warning signs, symptoms and characteristics of these injuries, and provide skills and resources for continued recovery.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS)?
These self-assessment questions are not intended to provide a diagnosis or substitute for a professional evaluation. Self- assessment questions obtained from MyHealth.VA.Gov.
The following questions are a list of problems and complaints that Service Members, Veterans sometimes have in response to stressful military experiences.
Have you experienced any of these problems in the past month? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress (PTS) related to your military service.
- Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts, or images of a stressful military experience?
- Repeated, disturbing dreams of a stressful military experience?
- Suddenly acting or feeling as if a stressful military experience were happening again (as if you were reliving it)?
- Feeling very upset when something reminded you of a stressful military experience?
- Having physical reactions (e.g., heart pounding, trouble breathing, sweating) when something reminded you of a stressful military experience?
- Avoiding thinking about or talking about a stressful military experience or avoiding having feelings related to it?
- Avoiding activities or situations because they reminded you of a stressful military experience?
- Trouble remembering important parts of a stressful military experience?
- Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy?
- Feeling distant or cut off from other people?
- Feeling emotionally numb or being unable to have loving feelings for those close to you?
- Feeling as if your future somehow will be cut short?
- Trouble falling or staying asleep?
- Feeling irritable or having angry outbursts?
- Having difficulty concentrating?
- Feeling jumpy or easily startled?
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, you may be experiencing symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress. For a formal diagnosis and evaluation, please consult your physician.
Traumatic Brain Injury
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
The following self-assessment questions are not intended to provide a diagnosis or substitute for a professional evaluation. TBI symptoms obtained from the Mayo Clinic.
Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later. The signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious
If you are experiencing many of the symptoms above, you may be experiencing symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury. For a formal diagnosis and evaluation, please consult your physician.
What Is Chronic Pain?
The following information is summarized from an article written by Lorie T. DeCarvalho, PhD for the National Center for PTSD. Click here to read the full article.
According to the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), chronic pain involves suffering from pain in a particular area of the body (e.g., in the back or the neck) for at least three to six months. Chronic pain may be as severe as, if not more severe than, acute pain but the individual’s experience is “modulated and compounded by the prolonged or recurrent nature of the chronic state, and further complicated by a multitude of economic and psychosocial factors” (2). In stark contrast to acute pain, chronic pain persists beyond the amount of time that is normal for an injury to heal.
Chronic pain can have a variety of sources including disease processes or injuries. Some chronic pain stems from a traumatic event, such as a physical or sexual assault, a motor vehicle accident, or some type of disaster. Under these circumstances, the person may experience both chronic pain and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What Is The Experience Of Chronic Pain Like Physically?
There are many forms of chronic pain, and each type of condition results in different experiences of pain and disability. As an example, chronic low back pain (CLBP), the most pervasive or common type of pain, is known to result in severe disability and limitation of movement.
Most patients with chronic pain resort to invasive assessment or treatment procedures, including surgery, to help ameliorate the pain. Individuals with chronic pain are less able to function in daily life than those who do not suffer from chronic pain. Patients with severe chronic pain and limited mobility oftentimes are unable to perform activities of daily living, such as walking, standing, sitting, lifting light objects, doing paperwork, standing in line at a grocery store, going shopping, or working. Many patients with chronic pain cannot work because of their pain or physical limitations.
What Is The Experience Of Chronic Pain Like Psychologically?
Chronic pain and the disability that often comes with it can lead to a cognitive reevaluation and reintegration of one’s belief systems, values, emotions, and feelings of self-worth (7). Numerous studies have indicated that many patients who experience chronic pain (up to 100%) tend also to be clinically depressed (8-10). In fact, depression is the most common psychiatric diagnosis in patients with chronic pain (11). The experience of progressive, consistent chronic pain and disability also translates for many individuals into having thoughts of suicide as a means of ending their pain and frustration (12).
PTSD And Chronic Pain
The prevalence of PTSD is substantially elevated in patients with chronic pain. A current PTSD prevalence of 35% was seen in a sample of chronic pain patients (13), compared to 3.5% in the general population (14). In a study of patients with chronic low back pain, 51% of the patients evidenced significant PTSD symptoms (15). In another study of patients who experienced chronic pain following a motor vehicle accident, researchers found that 50% of the patients developed PTSD (16).
One symptom of PTSD is that the person becomes emotionally or physically upset when reminded of the traumatic event. For people with chronic pain, the pain may actually serve as a reminder of the traumatic event, which will tend to exacerbate the PTSD.