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Airing Pain 82: Pain, PTSD and perfume

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

This edition has been funded by the 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’.

Issues covered in this programme include: PTSD: post traumatic stress disorder, veterans, psychology, mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, scent memory, olfactory visualisation and  intrusive thoughts.


  • 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.
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Andrea Lambell

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Hi Andrea,
Thanks for your interest in Pain Matters magazine. Please let us know on whether you’d like a digital or print free trial. If print, we’ll need a postal address.

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Hi there! This post could not be written any better!
Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!

He consistently kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.
Fairly confident he’ll have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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It’s hard to find well informed people on this topic, but you sound like you
comprehend what you’re talking about! Thanks

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