|Type of paper:||Report|
|Categories:||Mental health Post traumatic stress disorder|
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It is almost impossible to discuss challenges that veterans face without having to first talk about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Branku, et al., 2014). Naturally, there is never a peaceful war. So, every veteran who comes back home always carry with them closets of skeletons collected from the battlefields. The horrific scenes they encounter during war always form part of their memories and some are often painful. For instance, when the opposing forces kill their colleagues, especially those they are close to, they are left with a permanent void in them. They would often blame themselves for not protecting their friends. Also, every time they get lonely, they would recall the times they had with their fallen colleagues and get carried away in the melancholy. In some cases like in Syria, there may be certain painful collateral damage like the death of innocent children caught in between the crossfire. Such events leave permanent and terrifying images in the veterans' memories. Any slight reminder of similar events would trigger the memory of horrific scenes and cause the soldiers to have episodes (Branku, et al., 2014).
Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
MST is closely related to the PSD. It refers to the trauma caused by experiences of sexual violence which soldiers exhibit on the battlefield (Debeer, et al., 2014). This problem, however, faces more female veterans than it does men (Debeer, et al., 2014). MST mainly makes veterans have difficulties socializing because to them trust is always an issue. It makes them open to the charge of getting angry and wild easily, and this makes it hard for even people who try to love them or show compassion towards them to really accommodate them. With such repulsive traits, these veterans get drawn into loneliness which further attracts more PTSD and depression. The ultimate consequence is that they drown in drugs and alcohol. In a nutshell, the biggest challenge they face is forming relationships with other people.
Lack of Work
It is a challenge for veterans to settle down and live a normal life. Episodes of PTSD and its constituent traumas compromise the veterans' concentration capabilities (Koening, et al., 2014). Focusing on work, therefore, is an uphill task for them. Also, working would mean interacting with people as well as associating with them; but it is already established that it is hard for veterans to form meaningful relationships with non-veterans, semi-official or not. It is also often difficult to secure a job post-military deployment because of the mismatch of skills. Company management also shies away from hiring the veterans because they consider them psychologically unstable (Shear & Weisman, 2014).
Lack of Support
This challenge is delicate because it is two way. First, it is self-inflicted by the veterans but they cannot be blamed. The returned soldiers usually have the mentality that their families are those soldiers with whom they were in the combats (Hourani, et al., 2012). They consider being around them as the only safety they can have, and that they are the only people they can talk to. It requires a lot of patience to offer support to people with such kind of attitudes. Secondly, the society is not fully prepared to support the returned soldiers. It sidelines them and this further drives the veterans into loneliness and depression. In essence, the society and the government can still do more in terms of offering perpetual and consistent moral support.
Loss of Body Parts
Soldiers who return from the battlegrounds may have lost certain body parts in the war, like legs and hands. These are basically disabled veterans. It is a challenge because these are people who were trained and always believe in might and victory. The disability throws them in the situation of helplessness which further disturbs them psychologically. On top of the many terrifying memories they have about the experiences they had during combat, the disability pushes them to the edge. Distorted physique is an emotional manipulator and mental torture to the veterans and is associated with the suicides among the veterans (Schinka, et al., 2012).
Brancu M, Thompson NL, Beckham JC, Green KT, Calhoun PS, Elbogen EB, et al. (2014) The impact of social support on psychological distress for U.S. Afghanistan/Iraq era veterans with PTSD and other psychiatric diagnoses. Psychiatry Res 217: 86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.02.025 [PubMed]
Debeer BB, Kimbrel NA, Meyer EC, Gulliver SB, Morissette SB (2014) Combined PTSD and depressive symptoms interact with post-deployment social support to predict suicidal ideation in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans. Psychiatry Res 216: 357-362. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.02.010 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
Hourani L, Bender RH, Weimer B, Peeler R, Bradshaw M, Lane M, et al. (2012) Longitudinal study of resilience and mental health in Marines leaving military service. J Affect Disord 139: 154-165. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.01.008 [PubMed]
Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on the Initial Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Military Personnel Veterans and Their Families (2013) Returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan assessment of readjustment needs of veterans, service members, and their families. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press, pp. xv, 481.
Koenig CJ, Maguen S, Monroy JD, Mayott L, Seal KH (2014) Facilitating culture-centered communication between health care providers and veterans transitioning from military deployment to civilian life. Patient Educ Couns 95: 414-420. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.03.016 [PubMed]
Pfeiffer PN, Blow AJ, Miller E, Forman J, Dalack GW, Valenstein M. (2012) Peers and peer-based interventions in supporting reintegration and mental health among National Guard soldiers: a qualitative study. Mil Med 177: 1471-1476. [PubMed]
Schinka JA, Schinka KC, Casey RJ, Kasprow W, Bossarte RM (2012) Suicidal behavior in a national sample of older homeless veterans. Am J Public Health 102 Suppl 1: S147-153. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300436 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
Shear MD, Weisman J (2014) Obama vows a forceful response to veteran care issues. The New York Times; New York, New York.
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