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  • Picture of the Week

    Horticultural Therapist Zisky with veteran Peter Hughes at our East Acton outreach project.
  • Referrals

    The Referral Pathway for Veterans to Gardening Leave

    If you have served with H.M Forces and you would like to come to Gardening Leave, here is what you should do:-

    Either download our referral form here Referral-Form 001-Apr-2012 fill it out then send it back to admin@gardeningleave.org or alternatively phone our Head Office on 01292 521 444.

    One of our CPN Assessors will arrange a private, one-to-one appointment with you which will let you know more about Gardening Leave and how it may help you.

    dsc00751

    PTSD

    What is it?

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is sometimes described as ‘a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.’

    It is an anxiety disorder.

    Who can get it?

    They are varying of PTSD – Civilian PTSD is normally the result of a single traumatic incident such as a car crash or mugging. In the military however, repeated exposure to events during military service can often result in deep seated reactions which due to the tempo at which military personell operate, are seldumm adressed at the time.

    Anyone who has been in the Services – it doesn’t matter how long you served for, where or whether you were ‘in theatre’ – you can be 19 or 90; PTSD can happen to anyone.

    What are the signs?

    Flashbacks, nightmares, increased levels of anxiety, hyper arousal (being over sensitive to life in general), insomnia, inability to concentrate, mood swings, intensive thoughts, depression, possible psychosis, substance misuse – drinking more heavily than usual.

    What can be done to help?

    There are lots of things which can be done to improve the lives of Service personnel and veterans who suffer from combat stress reactions.

    The first step is to get the correct diagnosis so that the treatment you receive is relevant to the symptoms you are experiencing.

    Combat Stress, the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society (www.combatstress.org) is the only specialist charity of its kind in the UK and their Welfare Officer can come and visit you at home and point you in the direction of specialist services and help explain more about what can be done to help you and your family.

    Apart from psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR), anger management, relaxation techniques and sleep hygiene can all help. Non clinical interventions such as Gardening Leave and fishing which help to get veterans together again, also play a big part in helping to reduce the social isolation and exclusion which affect many veterans.

    Table of Symptoms

    Physical Signs Mental Signs Behavioural Signs
    1. Indigestion
    2. Waking up tired
    3. Excessive perspiration
    4. Racing heartbeat
    5. Constipation/diarrhoea
    6. Persistent headaches
    7. Muscular cramps
    8. Dry mouth/problems with swallowing
    1. Feelings of inadequacy/low self worth
    2. Feeling isolated/misunderstood
    3. Unreasonable fears
    4. Fear of open/closed spaces
    5. Fear of being alone
    6. Lack of ability to unwind
    7. Sudden panic attacks
    8. Disturbing dreams
    9. Forgetfulness/confusion
    1. Insomnia
    2. Avoiding people
    3. Erratic eating habits
    4. Irritability
    5. Loss of sense of humour
    6. Outbreaks of irrational anger
    7. Tearfulness
    8. Difficulty in decision-making
    9. Alcohol abuse
    10. Reckless driving
    11. Irresponsible behaviour
    12. Lack of interest in appearance/hygiene
    13. Increased number of minor accidents
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