The veteran population is a unique one because of the different branches of the government, making each person’s experience different than another’s. Each period of wartime is different and has various impacts on veterans. Despite these differences, there are some common health problems that potentially impact all veterans. These can include mental health or behavioral adjustment disorders. A large number of veterans have substance abuse disorders and attempt suicide. Many are reluctant to seek treatment and become difficult to diagnose and treat.
Veterans may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD may also be referred to as combat fatigue. PTSD can present with flashbacks, negative thoughts, a lack of trust, isolation, and an exaggerated startle response. PTSD may also be paired with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A TBI often happens as a result of significant trauma to the head or body. A Veteran may have symptoms such as headache, memory problems, mood swings, and fatigue. Changes can occur to the brain as a result of a TBI. Veterans also report chronic pain once returning from active duty. Chronic pain is one of the most common health problems that Veterans face. Chronic pain is one of the reasons many Veterans have a substance abuse problem. They attempt to self-medicate to help ease the pain. Many Veterans suffer the loss of limbs due to amputation. Technology has advanced, which has increased the survival rate of Veterans. They are no longer dying as a result of their injuries, but they often suffer the loss of their limbs.
When there is a war or conflict, Veterans are often exposed to dangerous and deadly substances. In the past, this has included mustard gas and Agent Orange. They are in areas where there is significant pollution in the air, dust, and smoke. The exposure may not cause immediate health issues but often causes them years later. Some Veterans suffer from mysterious illnesses that seem to have no primary cause. Veterans may also be exposed to asbestos and suffer from mesothelioma. There is a Mesothelioma Veterans Center for those who are impacted by it.
Many Veterans face homelessness. The conditions that they face due to their time in the military make it challenging for them to maintain a job or a good home life. This is often complicated by the health conditions they face that make it challenging to have a consistent job record and attendance.