The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Veterans With PTSD



Current statistics show 29% of combat veterans have PTSD. This condition exists in veterans from all wars, including the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

However, even those not stationed in a combat zone may develop PTSD. Reasons include natural disasters, unexpected loss of a loved one, and sexual assault within the ranks. Any traumatic event, including car accidents, may trigger its onset.

The COVID-19 pandemic exasperated the symptoms of PTSD in veterans. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was initially called “shell shock.” It did not become an official medical diagnosis for returning soldiers until the 1980s.

It is important to understand the impact of COVID-19 on soldiers returning home during the shutdown. Learn more here, including how to seek affordable treatment.

Impact of COVID-19 on Veterans

As of July 27, 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports a total of 881,890 VA COVID-19 cases. This figure includes:

  • 24,810 known deaths within 30 days of testing positive for COVID-19
  • 854,766 convalescent cases post-hospital discharge or 14 days after the last positive test
  • 2,314 active cases, meaning they have neither reached convalescent status nor died

Veterans suffering psychological distress before the pandemic may experience an increase in symptoms. This includes feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

The emotional impact, plus the decrease in mental health services, left many struggling. Many veterans numbed their senses with drugs and alcohol during the shutdown.

Symptoms of COVID-19 PTSD

Were you struggling with PTSD before the pandemic? Did your symptoms begin during or after COVID shutdowns? Whenever it starts, without treatment, PTSD can impact your life indefinitely.

Common signs that you may have COVID-19 PTSD include:

  • Alcohol or drug use to cope with emotions
  • Avoiding places, people, or activities because of safety concerns
  • Change in your sleep patterns
  • Feeling you are “on edge” or “walking on eggshells”
  • Fear of leaving your home
  • Flashbacks of illness in yourself or someone else

If you experience any of the above, seek help immediately. There are a variety of treatment centers and options available. The centers on our website work directly with veterans and do not prescribe medication.

Treatment options include:

  • Detoxification
  • Individual or group therapy
  • Nutritional education
  • Eye movement desensitization therapy
  • Job-ready training
  • These sessions assist you in recovering from your symptoms and how to cope with emotional triggers in the future.

These sessions assist you in recovering from your symptoms. You will learn how to cope with emotional triggers in the future.

Help for Veterans and Returning Soldiers

Soldiers are subject to high-risk tasks every day. You don’t have to enter a combat zone to experience triggering events. Being away from familiar surroundings, separation from loved ones, personal injury, seeing others injured, or witnessing death can happen anytime.

During COVID-19, everyone was at risk of developing a life-threatening injury or losing friends or family to the illness. Shutdown orders prevented personal contact, diminishing emotional support. This traumatic event triggered an increase in PTSD in veterans.

PTSD is a form of mental illness and one reason the veteran suicide rate is high. If you feel suicidal, beginning January 2023, you can receive free emergency healthcare.

Help includes reimbursement for the veteran’s ambulance rides to a hospital. It covers 30 days of inpatient or crisis residential care and 90 days of outpatient care.

Additional Help with COVID PTSD

The Cpl. Chad Eric Oligschlaeger Foundation for PTSD helps returning soldiers. We provide resources, treatment options, book suggestions, special events, and more.

We invite you to visit our website for more information about help with COVID-19 PTSD. While there, subscribe to our newsletter to receive PTSD information updates for veterans.

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