Support Your Local Heroes

This week we looked at the physical and mental health issues facing returning veterans. It’s a subject that many of us don’t want to think about, but for many, especially those who saw combat, readjusting to civilian life is their toughest challenge. It is the responsibility of all of us to give them our support and understanding. The issues affecting many serving soldiers and veterans are unique to soldiers. The combination of physical injuries, exposure to toxic agents and infectious disease, and the mental health issues that may result from those injuries, contribute to a difficult fight back to normal life for the average wounded vet. It helps for the families to be well informed about the problems so they can provide in-house support and advice. The social problems can be immense, and fitting back into polite society after being at war is never easy for anyone. Returning to a life with their families after their experiences is tough, even without physical injuries. This is made worse as many of the physical complaints experienced by veterans are not easily classified as a single disorder. They are usually combinations of things. An increasing number of veterans suffer from some kind of mental health problems or related behavioral problems. The trauma of war often leads to bouts of depression and sometimes substance abuse, and these problems can become chronic if they are not treated, and many people are aware that screening for mental health problems needs to be more widespread. Resources do exist to help vets and their families identify harmful substances they might have been exposed to. Vets coming home with known injuries are one thing, but vets developing new problems after their return is another. Information is key to a successful diagnosis, and a willingness to ask for help even if the problem is elusive and inexplicable. And finally all soldiers returning home, injured or not, need to know where to look for help, should they find that after the fact they need assistance and support.

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