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Are you wondering about the signs of Operational Stress?

A few possible signs of an Operational Stress Injury:

  • Fatigue/sleep disturbances (trouble falling asleep, nightmares, restless sleep, excessive sweating at night)
  • Mood changes/irritability (short fuse)/growing inflexible attitude.
  • Frustration with failure/Frustration with incompetence of others.
  • Difficulty managing stress.
  • Difficulty concentrating/memory loss.
  • Difficulty communicating (withdraws/speaks in the form of orders/finds it hard to be told to do something).
  • Difficulty with emotional connections and fluctuating emotions, which can affect intimacy (difficulty experiencing feelings, difficulty hugging children, change in sexual habits, etc.).
  • Feels that he/she was not up to the task/feels guilt regarding the events that occurred on a mission or in relation to his/her family.
  • Change in core beliefs (example: the world is unsafe).
  • Greater threat sensitivity/feeling of vulnerability/putting safety plans in place (moves constantly so as not to be a target, walks on escalators, looks everywhere upon arriving in a new place, etc.).
  • Flashbacks, repetitive memories (images, sounds, smells).
  • Jumpy and shows hypervigilance (carries around an object for self- defence, is startled by such things as the sound of a door slamming, etc.).
  • Adrenaline-seeking (seeks thrills in action movies, video games, extreme sports, etc.).
  • Hyperactivity (finds it hard to be doing nothing, all repairs are urgent, exhausts him/herself in order to be able to sleep, etc.).
  • Risky driving (drives in the middle of the road, accelerates at intersections, tailgates, impatience behind the wheel, road rage, etc.).
  • Avoidance behaviours (avoids crowds, hates waiting in line, avoids conversations or movies associated with his/her memories, etc.).
  • Loss of interest in activities/”I don’t care” attitude.
  • Sense of hopelessness and sense of shame.
  • Excessive use of alcohol or other substances/gambling addiction (to relax, get to sleep, manage difficult memories).
  • Signs of anxiety and depression/dark thoughts.

Service Dogs can help with the symptoms of Operational Stress Injuries:

At Courageous Companions we have seen service dogs significantly relieve symptoms such as anxiety, assist in easing the exhausting and often debilitating impact of flashbacks and nightmares, decrease and even eliminate the need for medications and in many cases relationships have been restored.

See more About Service Dogs

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