Military life can be rewarding, but it’s never easy. Veterans went through a lot of pain to bring us a beautiful life today. A study conducted in 2014 indicated that 1 in 4 active duty members had signs of a mental health condition. What mental illness do veterans struggle with? Learn more to understand the hardships they have to go through to protect our country!
What mental illness do veterans struggle with – 3 common mental health conditions for veterans
What mental illness do veterans struggle with
Mental health conditions are considered one of the most common issues in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health points out that nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017).
The three most popular mental health problems among veterans are Depression, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). What are the symptoms of these mental health concerns?
What is depression?
Normally, depression happens after traumatic events. It can be understood as a low mood that lasts for more than a few days. Depression can heavily affect your daily life by affecting your sleep, appetite as well as desire to interact with others. This is one of the most common mental illnesses veterans struggle with.
What mental illness do veterans struggle with – depression
Symptoms of depression
Typical symptoms of depression can include:
– Feel sad more often for a period lasting longer than 2 weeks
– Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
– Changes in sleeping and eating habits
– Have difficulty focusing
– Feeling hopeless
– Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Traumatic Brain Injury
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
This is also listed in the most common mental illnesses veterans struggle with. Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI is a common deployment-related injury. The chance of getting TBI is 1 in 5 for active service members deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. This mental health condition occurs when the brain is hit with an outside force. This outside force can be shocks from explosions or injuries from the assault.
What mental illness do veterans struggle with – Traumatic Brain Injury
TBI makes brain function be temporarily impaired or altered. While it is a serious illness, it does not have any outward physical signs. That’s why this mental illness can also be called an “invisible wound”.
Symptoms of TBI
Veterans facing TBI may get lots of different symptoms:
– Changes in memory
– Trouble concentrating
– Poor impulse control
– Irritability and anger
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
We cannot forget to mention this condition when it comes to the most common mental illnesses veterans struggle with. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, refers to a common mental health disorder among veterans. Experiences like military combat, disasters, assault, and sexual assault might be the causes of PTSD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the mental illnesses veterans suffer from
Veterans experiencing PTSD will often relive the traumatic event in their thoughts or dreams. They will take precautions to avoid situations that trigger memories of the event. This mental illness can prevent veterans from pursuing a productive life and make the transition into civilian life tougher.
Symptoms of PTSD
There are some typical symptoms of PTSD:
– Relive the event: Veterans with PTSD can have nightmares or flashbacks of traumatic events.
– Avoid situations that remind them of the event: Veterans with PTSD tend to avoid large crowds or places reminding them of a traumatic event is common.
– Have negative changes in beliefs or feelings: Their relationships might become hard after a traumatic event since PTSD may make a veteran have negative feelings towards their loved ones or relationships in general.
Facts about the mental health of veterans
As we have learned about some common mental illnesses veterans struggle with, now let’s discover some amazing facts about these mental health conditions among our troops.
- 20 percent of the vets serving in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
This is the information from the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research. In addition, 19.5 percent of vets in these two categories are determined to have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
- Anxiety sensitivity can link PTSD and suicide risk
In 2017, researchers at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System determined a significant association between the severity of PTSD in 60 male Veterans and a greater frequency of suicidal thoughts, plans.
- Due to those mental health struggles, there has been an increased risk for alcohol or drug addiction among veterans
According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in 15 veterans struggle with a substance use disorder. This is something easy to understand because for many veterans, having drugs or alcohol is the only solution for them to deal with the symptoms of mental health conditions.
In 2009, the VA estimated that there were about 13,000 vets from Iraq and Afghanistan who were suffering from alcohol dependence syndrome and required veteran mental health treatment for this problem.
- There has been a relationship between mental health illness and homelessness
According to researchers from the VA New England MIRECC and the Yale School of Medicine, 5.6 percent of more than 300,000 Veterans referred to anxiety or PTSD clinics experienced homelessness within the one-year time period of the study.
The homelessness rate for the entire Veteran population reaches about 3.7 percent over a five-year period. Veterans unmarried or diagnosed with a drug use disorder were said to be more than twice as likely to become homeless.
Thoughtful Gifts For A Veteran
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Currently, VA is offering a wide range of mental health services to Veterans. The goal is to promote recovery and help Veterans with mental health issues live meaningful lives in their communities as well as achieve their full potential. For all veterans have done for our country, let’s show our gratitude and send our thanks to all those heroes!