Psychological rehabilitation of military personnel
“ Sometimes a person thinks,
that war does not leave indelible marks on him,
but if he really is human
it only seems to him … “.
For the absolute majority of combatants, their participation in the war in Ukraine remains the main event of their entire biography until the end of their lives.
The past military experience changes a person’s personality so much that upon returning to a peaceful life he will never be the same again. A person finds himself in a state of conflict with the surrounding society, which does not understand or accept him. Often in such a situation of “non-acceptance” there is disappointment in the values for which a person fought, because the value scale itself and “the system of priorities for him and the post-war society do not coincide.
In real life, “lost generation” means, firstly, a painful reaction of the human psyche to the traumatic phenomena of war, as a rule, it manifests itself in a delayed manner, already in a peaceful environment, and has a long-term character; secondly, the participants in the war, when they return to a peaceful life, are socially maladjusted, this is accompanied by a whole complex of socio-psychological phenomena.
- Nostalgia for the front-line past, an irresistible desire to mentally return to it, again and again reproducing old feelings and experiences;
- Increased propensity to take risks, the desire to really reproduce the extreme conditions of war or similar dangerous situations in peaceful life (attraction to dangerous professions, the desire to participate in other armed conflicts, conflicts in family life, etc.);
- Feeling rejected or separated from the environment, to one degree or another, others reject front-line soldiers as something alien, causing imbalance, rejection and even fear;
- A sense of front-line brotherhood, a kind of community between the participants of not only one, but even different wars – as opposed to all the others.
Psychological rehabilitation of ATO participants
The “lost generation” phenomenon is generated mainly by unjust wars for an “incomprehensible” cause, which are not accepted by society, and even more so by lost wars, when feelings of national humiliation give rise to a guilt complex or revenge syndrome. However, the manifestation of this phenomenon takes place after victorious and just wars.
Particularly important, rather even decisive, is the attitude of society itself towards veterans after their return from the war zone. This concerns both the presence or absence of special programs of state support and adaptation of veterans to a peaceful life, social security systems, etc., as well as the attitude towards them in society at the level of “ordinary psychology”, in which the perception of the military can vary from “heroes” to “criminals” and “villains”. ( Read more about our psycho-social rehabilitation program )
The heroic image in the mass consciousness does not last long, and in order to preserve it, a whole system of targeted measures is needed to maintain “historical memory”. The “inconvenience” of military veterans for a peaceful social environment manifests itself very quickly, and can result in intolerance towards them, which manifests itself, including in social forms (infringement in various spheres of life: recruitment, provision of benefits prescribed by law, and etc.). If society realizes the unjust nature of the war and, moreover, the defeat in it, it usually shifts the blame for this onto the veterans, and the degree of negative attitude towards them increases.
Let us compare, for example, two official phrases with which the bureaucratic structures after the Great Patriotic War and the Afghan War brushed aside the needs of veterans. In the first case, it was said: “So what if you fought? Everybody fought! “, And in the second:” I didn’t send you there! ” At the same time, the first formulation is an attempt to “adhere” to participation in a nationwide and victorious war and at the same time belittle the role of the interlocutor in it, and the second clearly expresses the desire to “disown” the war as unpopular, while making its participant the guilty party. / p>
The extreme conditions of the war leave an imprint on the consciousness and, accordingly, the behavior of people who took a direct part in the hostilities in Ukraine, and are reflected in their entire subsequent life. And among these people there will always inevitably be those who can be attributed to the “lost generation” and who themselves feel that they belong to it.
In our RC “Transformation” we help combatants to overcome alcoholic or drug addiction , which was a means of oblivion from the unceasing pain, social alienation and a whole range of feelings that former front-line soldiers are trying to fight.
We know that, on the one hand, you have an irresistible need to “plunge” back into the past, into a military situation; on the other hand, you feel the deepest sense of guilt of the survivor before the dead comrades; and thirdly, the need to “speak out”, throwing out his never-ending pain outside and at the same time delivering his personal truth about the war to others. RC “Transformation” is the place where you will be understood and you will be heard.
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PTSD or PTSD is a normal mental response to abnormal circumstances, just as pain is a normal response to bodily injury. It goes away with time. This is a consequence of the poisoning of the body with stress hormones, as well as overstrain of the entire nervous system and psychological defense mechanisms. This means that helping people suffering from PTSD primarily consists of relieving stress (as much as possible), creating conditions for restoring contact with the body and weakening defenses.
A person experiencing PTSD often thinks that something is wrong with him, that he is abnormal. This makes you hide your condition, feel ashamed of it, makes it difficult to ask for help, and often leads to severe mental disorders such as alcoholism and drug addiction.
The following signs of PTSD are distinguished
- sleep disorder, recurring nightmares and involuntary memories, impaired appetite;
- violation of contact with personal primary needs, you do not remember the last time you ate, slept, do not notice injuries, cold, dirt;
- constant vigilance and a state of constant expectation of a threat, a feeling of tension, the body does not relax even in sleep;
- repetitive and obsessive reproduction of a traumatic event in your mind, pictures of the experience, against your will, “flash” in your mind;
- excessive irritability, irascibility, intolerance to the slightest difficulty, disagreement;
- bouts of guilt, constant scrolling in the head of options for what could be done to save the dead;
- difficult to control bouts of uncontrollable anger or despair;
- depression, apathy, dullness, desire to forget, unwillingness to live.
In severe cases, psychotic episodes may occur, with a loss of adequate perception of reality. The stress experienced by the patient is often extremely intense and sometimes even prompts suicidal thoughts in order to end the attack.
If you observe some or all of the above signs in yourself or your loved one, take it carefully. This condition is not only painful for you and those around you, but it is extremely dangerous for your health and for the situation as a whole. Do not tolerate and do not ignore the problem, contact our rehabilitation center “Transformation” for help.
How can you take care of yourself or your loved one:
- Take care: feed, persuade to rest, get enough sleep. It is necessary to satisfy the basic need for warmth, hot food, drink, bed, clothes, bathroom.
- Maintain tactile contact: hold hand, hug, stroke, be close, but do not bother.
- Be in nature more often: sit in the sun, look at the water, at the fire, at the sky, smell the grass, earth, touch the tree, stone.
- Do simple, familiar activities with concrete, clear results aimed at “tidying up, restoring communication, taking care of yourself and others”, for example: cleaning, working on the ground, doing housework , parsing or sorting something.
- Participate in rituals, especially joint rituals, farewell to the dead, commemoration, creation of memorial signs, and joint prayers.
- Do not be silent, do not restrain your feelings: cry if you want, write down your feelings on paper, talk, complain, tell about your experience to those who are ready to listen to you, and, accordingly, listen if someone shares with you. In no case do not go straight to consolations and do not urge “do not get upset, pull yourself together”, do not freeze grief with formulas like “heroes do not die.” They die, it hurts, and the pain must have a way out.
- If right now there is no opportunity to speak, cry, receive support, it is better, on the contrary, to consciously block memories and thoughts about the experience, not to allow yourself to be “pulled” into the trauma funnel, to be distracted, to switch, do something, sing, pray – but later give vent to feelings, as soon as there are conditions for support, loved ones are there.
- Be extremely careful with such “sedatives” as alcohol, often small doses taken once, which previously helped to relax, lead to severe alcohol dependence. Alcohol is a depressant, it drains an already depleted psyche, and with regular use worsens the course of PTSD syndrome.
Often fighters do not turn to us for help themselves, instead they stay at home and go into binge drinking. If all of the above measures did not have the desired effect, if your loved one was in captivity of addiction, seek help from the psychologists of the Transformation RC. We will be happy to help you or your loved one recover and make peace with yourself and others.
After rehabilitation, the participants in the rehabilitation program clear up their consciousness, rebuild their psyche, and an uplift of spirit is observed. Rehabilitation after ATO is necessary for all fighters, at least the minimum – 1 month.
The more a person has fought, the more PTSD is expressed. The syndrome begins to manifest itself 3 months after the hostilities. Many ATO participants are asked to send them to psychological rehabilitation. They fear that after what they have experienced in the Donbass they may turn into bandits. Often, a psychotherapist is the only person with whom children can share their condition. Maybe also a priest. The clergy also visit the rehabilitation center and help to recover mentally and morally. We run free self-help groups for family members of an addict.
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