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What Is the Difference between Combat Stress and PTSD?

Article Details
  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Images By: Hurricane, John Gomez, Usmc Archives, Burlingham
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological stress affliction that affects those who have been exposed to a debilitating psychological trauma. A related neurological disorder, known as combat stress, also affects individuals who have been exposed to strenuous conditions during the course of battle. The only connection between combat stress and PTSD is the fact that they are both neurological disorders precipitated by traumatic events. Combat stress and PSTD are different disorders with different symptoms and effects on the afflicted individuals.

In order to better understand the difference between combat stress and PTSD, it is necessary to understand the effects of the two conditions on those suffering from them. Combat stress differs from PTSD in its severity and length of affliction on those who have it. In the first instance, combat stress is mainly an affliction that is common among those who are actively engaged in war or battle. this is less so in PTSD, which could affect anyone who has been exposed to any type of trauma that has nothing to do with battle. Even those who have been subjected to physical or severe mental abuse can exhibit signs of PTSD, just like soldiers in the battlefront who have been subjected to physical and emotional trauma on the battlefront.

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In the case of combat stress, it is usually used in reference to those actively engaged in battle who may show signs of stress precipitated by the battle. This usually shows in the form of dissociation by the affected soldier from the combat environment, frequent feelings of fatigue, and other symptoms like a marked decrease in the ability of the soldier to make rational decisions. On the other hand, PTSD is a more serious condition that is the result of a traumatic event that affects the fundamental ability of the affected person to deal with the situation. In this case, the difference between combat stress and PTSD is the intensity of the two conditions.

Combat stress and PTSD also differ in the ability of the individuals affected to manage the respective conditions. This is due to the fact that combat stress is relatively more manageable than PTSD. For one reason, PTSD significantly cripples the afflicted individual socially, emotionally and in other tangible ways that keep the person from functioning in a normal capacity. As such, combat stress might last for a limited length of time, while PTSD might last significantly longer.

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