Military Veterans and Mental Health Issues
Veterans of war zone and combat situations have a high rate of health issues due to their line of work. Even after retirement and being removed from the situation, the effects of their active duty experiences can last a lifetime. The ailments experienced by veterans range from psychological damage such as post traumatic disorder (PTSD) and anxiety to physical ailments and even disfigurement. There are numerous mental and physical healthcare resources for veterans, as there should be, but this does not change the fact that the issues will remain with the veteran for the duration of their life.
Veteran Health Concerns and Treatment Options
The most prevalent mental issue that veterans face is post traumatic stress disorder. Approximately 30% of military war veterans live with diagnosed PTSD. Veterans suffering from PTSD experience a myriad of symptoms that can result in a decrease in the quality of life if not properly treated and many veterans, suffering from PTSD, return home from active duty with a completely different outlook on life. Some symptoms of PTSD include a general distrust of people, even the ones in their life that are the most trustworthy. Veterans may begin to relive the traumatic experiences and react to everyday occurrences in a way that they would not have prior to the traumatic events. Nightmares often cause sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder to awaken confused and poised to fight. Additionally, the constant surges of adrenaline from the thoughts that go along with reliving traumatic experiences can be quite disruptive to any attempts to live a peaceful life. Resources for veterans, such as treatment for post traumatic stress, are available to veterans who develop this disorder while employed by the government. Treatments include anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy sessions.
Depression is another common mental health issue experienced by veterans returning from a war. Depression can be related to post traumatic stress disorder or it can be a diagnosis that comes seemingly come “out of the blue”, to those without a prior diagnosis of PTSD. Guilt from actions performed in battle can cause depression in veterans, as well as the length of time spent away from family and their home life and routine, in general, can cause depression in veterans. Depression is treated in the same fashion as post traumatic stress disorder, with antidepressants and sometimes therapy. Depression can cause many undesirable symptoms, including physical pain of an indeterminable etiology which leads to the assumption that the pain is due to depression. Most often veterans, and civilians alike, can overcome depression and regain a normal, happy life.
Military Veterans are Not Alone
Mental illness among veterans is something that is an all-too-real issue for those who suffer from it and their families. All too often veterans feel that they are alone in their suffering, but support from family along with effective treatment plans can help to make life easier and more manageable for veterans. Not all psychological damage to veterans is as severe as PTSD and depression, some are “lucky” enough to get out with just anxiety issues; all of which can be disruptive to the quality of life after war. If you are a veteran and suffer from any post-war mental issues, seek help; the resources are available to you.