Natural recovery from posttraumatic stress in injured military service members: Commentary on Soumoff et al. (2021)

Peterson, A. L.
Feb 1, 2022

Journal of Traumatic Stress, 35(1), 338-340.

Soumoff et al. (2021) reported on a sample of 2,217 injured military service members and found that somatic symptom severity was more predictive of the development of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than injury severity. PTSD has been described as one of the invisible wounds of war, suggesting that many military service members with PTSD may suffer in silence because some symptoms—such as psychological and somatic symptoms—are often not observable by others. In contrast, friends, family, fellow service members, and health care providers often ask military service members with visible, physical wounds what happened, prompting a discussion of their injury and the events that contributed to it. I posit that the findings reported by Soumoff et al. may be an example of the differences that can occur in the course of natural recovery in military service members suffering from visible versus invisible wounds of war and further hypothesize that the repeated conversations that often occur after physical injuries in military service members may foster natural recovery from the co-occurring invisible, psychological wounds of war.