May 20, 2015, by Sheerin Jafri – When it comes to military an age old stigma that remains attached with veterans is that their mental state undergoes some major health issues. We have all witnessed how veterans or in-service military men returning from war or rigorous trainings can have impacts on their psychological and emotional health. The thought of spending time on a battlefield, under immense pressure or to not screw up anything can naturally put your brain in an anxious and stressed out state. Given their demanding and 24/7 commitment to the service often leads to a number of mental health problems. Despite these facts, people in military are not offered regular mental health checkups unless they are faced with a problem. If while in service they are provided with regular visits to a stress combating facility or a psychiatrist, it can reduce the number of incidents like suicides among veterans.
Some days back, I was reading this article in a newspaper that said, “A veterans worst wounds are those that cannot be seen.” More importance is given to their physical wounds than to those that are not so visible yet far more lethal and painful.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military:
A common mental health problem mostly linked with people in forces is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A number of military officials and veterans have taken part in some sort of combat and have witnessed war and death very closely. This leads to increasing number of PTSD cases among military men and women. Statistics depict that the number of veterans affected by PTSD is higher in comparison to non-veterans.
According to The U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, among veterans affected by PTSD 31% are from Vietnam war, 10% from Gulf War, 11% from the Afghan war and 20 % from Iraq War. These figures and percentages keep on increasing based on the fact that more and more are taking part in the ongoing wars and constantly going through physical, mental and emotional stress.
Talk about what PTSD is and what are its symptoms, we realize our brave men and women when returning from duty go through constant episodes of war flashbacks. The conditions get serious if not taken care of, as it often leads to self-harm and or other nervous problems. An event that has made a person feel unsafe or helpless is more or less the reason people develop PTSD.
The problem further leads to constant headaches and severe migraines, emotional numbness, loss of interest in life and everyday activities they used to enjoy earlier. These symptoms have a rather negative influence on various aspects of their life. The feeling of relentlessly being on alert mode can be disturbing for not just the affected person but people around him/her. While generally it is considered quite normal to be afraid, sad or uninterested but when these emotions become a part of your life, they can pose serious threats.
Veterans with depressive disorders, where they suffer from constant pain and other problems can be lead to afflicting issues in their life. Depression is a problem faced by almost every military personnel; however, veterans over 60 years or even older are mostly diagnosed with chronic depressive disorders. Almost 11% of old veterans are likely to get a diagnosis for depression but only when their depression starts interfering with their presumably normal daily life. It is feared that the percentage may be higher as most veterans don’t seek medical care when they face psychological problems and neither do they receive regular mental checkup while on duty and in service. Depression is a serious mental health disorder illness requiring immediate medical attention. Unlike many other mental health problems, the optimism attached to treatments attached with this disorder makes it completely treatable.
Troops and veterans returning from duty after serving the beloved country with their bravery are often inflicted with emotional and mental trauma. Given their graveness of service and their dedication their invisible wounds require medical attention. According to surveys more than 60 % of veterans and in-service officers suffer from these problems silently because of the stigma attached to it and the misconception that mental and psychological concerns translate to negativity and weakness.
Author Bio: Sheerin Jafri is a passionate blogger, she writes on health and Lifestyle.