82. Pain, PTSD and Perfume

Jun 14, 2016, 09:30 AM

The emotional and physical impacts of injury and how to cope with them.

This edition is supported by Forces in Mind Trust and the MacRobert Trust.

In the third instalment of our Airing Pain miniseries on military veterans living with pain we focus on the relationship between pain and psychological wellbeing. Anxiety, fear and anger are common responses to pain, but guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also be heavy burdens for ex-service personnel, explains clinical psychologist Dr Alan Barrett. Gabriel Gadikor was caught in a rocket attack while serving in Iraq and has since suffered chronic pain and psychological trauma. He describes the coping strategies he has learnt while a patient at Dr Barrett’s clinic, including using a favourite perfume to ‘ground’ himself when troubled by pain and difficult thoughts or emotions. Although attitudes in the military have begun to change, it can still be difficult for servicemen and women to admit to psychological distress and many may not be coming forward to get the support they need. Gabriel urges his former colleagues facing the same issues to seek help: ‘the longer you keep your problem, the more difficult it is to treat’.


  • Dr Alan Barrett, Clinical Lead, the Pennine Care Military Veteran Service for Greater Manchester and Lancashire

  • Gabriel Gadikor, army veteran

More information:

  • Anyone who has served in the British armed forces can be referred or self-refer to any of the Military Veteran Services across the UK. Visit the Pennine Care Military Veteran Service website to find out more: www.penninecare.nhs.uk/your-services/military-veterans-service.

First broadcast 14.06.16

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