Terms About Mental Health of Troops

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Bipolar Disorder

Also referred to as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder causes back and forth mood swings between mania and depression.

Combat and Operational Stress (COS)

Psychological and emotional stress caused by the demands and dangers of combat.

Combat and Operational Stress Reactions (COSR)

Physical, mental and emotional stresses caused by combat and operational stress.


A common feeling of sadness that lasts longer than a couple of days. Depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning. Depression causes pain not only to the person, but also to those around him or her.

Military Sex Trauma (MST)

Sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment against a Veteran’s will while he or she is in the military.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

An anxiety disorder caused by a traumatic event. The symptoms include reliving the traumatic event, avoiding places or things that could trigger remembrance of the event, and feeling numb. Symptoms could occur immediately after the traumatic event or years later.

Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug misuse and dependence that can cause health, relationship and employment problems. Symptoms of substance dependence are tolerance, withdrawals and compulsive behavior. Substance abuse can be caused by depression, stress, PTSD or other medical conditions.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Occurs when an outside force hits a person’s head causing severe damage. Symptoms of TBI include the inability to concentrate, emotional and behavioral changes, and difficulty speaking.


Department of Veterans Affairs

Behavior Health