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Ten things you did not know about combat stress

1. Combat stress is the term used to describe the psychological, physical and behavioural responses to traumatic experiences in the battlefield.

2. Combat stress reaction is the term used to describe acute behavioural disorganization that occurs as a result of the trauma of war.

3. Combat stress reaction includes a range of behaviour that includes fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnect from one’s surroundings. The response to combat stress differs from one person to the next.

4. Combat stress reaction is usually short term and is easily confused with post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder which are typically long term.

5. Combat stress can be caused by ineffective leadership, lack of support from colleagues, inadequate training, isolation, workload and pressure.

6. Combat stress is not a static occurrence; it occurs in cycles.

a) The first is the immediate stage which starts during the traumatic event and can last for a couple of hours to a few days following the traumatic event. This stage is characterized by severe anxiety. It has a high recovery chance.

b) The second stage is the acute stage which starts a few days following the event and can last for several weeks to months. It is characterized by depression, pain, anxiety and physical discomfort. It has a god recovery chance.

c) The third stage is the chronic stage that starts several months following the trauma, almost six months later and can last for an extended period (for years). The recovery chance is usually favourable in the absence of personality disorders.

7. Combat Stress management techniques are starts with prevention, from pre-deployment to post-deployment.

8. The leaders of the troops must watch out for signs of combat stress; it makes them less likely to experience harmful combat stress reactions.

9. Stress management techniques include the following - ensuring that every effort is made to provide for the troops’ welfare; recognizing that individuals and troops react differently to the same stress; learning the signs of stress in oneself and others; being aware of background stressors before combat and ensuring sleep for decision-making personnel.

10. Management for the soldiers includes learning how to relax in a stressful situation, taking control of the situation, getting enough sleep, engaging in physical fitness and exercise training and being positive.



Combat stress reaction. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2020, from Wikipedia:

Sharma, S. (2015, September). Occupational stress in the armed forces: An Indian army perspective. Science Direct, 27(3), 185-195. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from

Zelimir Pavlina, Z. K. (n.d.). PSYCHOLOGICAL MODEL OF COMBAT STRESS. 36th IAMPS Split, CROATIA 2000, 190-198.


Written by Idowu Mary

Idowu Mary is a fifth-year medical student at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), She is a writer on multiple blogs and also teaches creative writing. She is the brain behind the writing outfit - Write with Mary. She is a mental health advocate, who seeks to educate the public on the truth about mental health and its challenges.

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