c. Severe Mental and Emotional Reactions to the Stress of Combat.
Included are the following:
Incoherent language: severe stuttering, mumbling, can't speak at all.
Panic running under fire.
(3) Memory loss--for orders, military skills, and a bad event; for time, place,
and what's going on; or for everything.
(4) Severe anxiety: afraid to fall asleep for fear of terrifying dreams, danger;
unable to stay asleep even in a safe area.
Apathy: no interest in food or anything else.
Hysterical outbursts, frantic or strange behavior.
Seeing or hearing things which are not really there.
DIAGNOSIS OF THE REACTIONS TO THE STRESS OF COMBAT
a. General Information. There is no easy way for the medical NCO to
recognize combat stress reactions and their severity quickly. That requires judgment
based on what the leader, the unit medic, or the medical professional knows about the
individual soldier, what has happened to the soldier, how the soldier responds to helping
actions, what is likely to happen to the unit next, and what resources are available to the
unit. Observations of changes in the soldier's behavior are very important for early
diagnosis of problems. The medical NCO may have to rely on information from the
soldier's buddies as well as the unit leader.
b. Other Illnesses with Similar Signs/Symptoms. It is often difficult to
differentiate between combat stress reactions and true physical or mental illnesses
which have very similar signs and/or symptoms. Examples of illnesses which could be
mistaken for combat stress reactions include:
Alcohol abuse: intoxication or withdrawal.
Drug abuse: overdose or withdrawal.