Common Medical Conditions Affecting Veterans’ Health
Are you a veteran who’s just come back from the war? Or perhaps you know someone who is? If so, you want to be sure to check on their health and spot any conditions ASAP.
Most veterans’ experience medical conditions due to their time in the war. These issues can either be physical or mental and affect their day-to-day life. But not everyone is aware of what those complications could be.
So, here are a few of the common problems with veterans health when they return from service. Let’s start.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Being a war veteran means finding yourself in situations where you have to exert more than what your body can handle. Because of such cases, one of the most common physical health problems in war veterans is traumatic brain injury.
It refers to an injury caused by external force to the head that leads to disruption in the brain’s normal function. It could result in loss of consciousness, alteration in mental state, memory loss, and other neurological complications.
The majority of returning veterans suffer from traumatic brain injuries coupled with mental health issues. Treatment for this usually focuses on aiding the most problematic symptoms. Those who experience TBI either take constant medication, physical therapy, or use assistive devices.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Next to TBI, the second most frequent of the health concerns a veteran may experience is post traumatic stress disorder. Experts explain it’s common for veterans to go through this due to the nature of their job.
It stems from the things they witness and first-handedly experience each day. As a result, it causes them to feel anxiety triggered by the disasters they see.
Post traumatic stress disorder can cause veterans to relive events when encounter triggers. Some of the symptoms include avoiding specific situations or objects or experiencing negative beliefs.
Psychotherapy is often the first treatment professionals provide to those who experience PTSD. It focuses on helping these veterans face the trigger slowly and helping them change their perspective of it. This way, it won’t affect them as much in their daily life.
You can check here if you want to learn more about PTSD, from the causes and triggers to the effects and remedies.
Depressive disorders are the leading mental health issues found in veterans upon their return. In most cases, they experience it along with other existing health complications.
Aside from traumatic events, a war veteran can develop a depressive disorder based on their experiences. For example, if they witness losing a friend or find themselves in a situation that made them feel hopeless.
The most obvious symptom of a depressive disorder is the expression of sadder emotions lasting more than weeks and months. You can also characterize it with the following:
- Lack of interest in past hobbies
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Different eating habits
- Having trouble staying focused
- Thoughts about self-harm or more
- Frequently feeling hopeless
Some people who go through depressive disorders on top of existing conditions take longer to treat. Even so, experts put extra effort into providing therapy and counseling to help them.
Substance Use Disorder
A high number of veterans end up with substance use disorders once they complete their military service. In most cases, they find themselves using different substances to aid the stress they accumulated over the years.
The most common type of substance among veterans is alcohol, followed by illegal drug use. Statistics show that those who have more exposure to violent and traumatic situations are more likely to experience problematic drinking.
Veterans with substance use disorders go through rehabilitation and therapy focused on reducing their need for these substances. It teaches them to develop healthier habits and find cravings in substitutes that have a better impact on their health needs.
Parkinson’s refers to a brain disorder that causes an individual to shake, stiffen, or have trouble staying still. It affects the way they walk, hold balance, and sometimes even communicate.
Common symptoms of these health issues include tremors in the hands, arms, legs, and face, as well as stiffness in the limbs and slower movement.
There’s no exact reason why veterans tend to develop Parkinson’s Disease, but most research points to genetic or environmental factors. Most studies have found that it’s linked to exposure to herbicides during their service.
Veterans are exposed to a broad range of chemicals and particles throughout their service. Although they don’t notice them at first, it could lead to the development of different respiratory cancers.
Those who experience respiratory cancer may also suffer from asthma, chronic lung disease, and other potential problems. The severity of their condition also depends on their level of exposure to those substances.
Treatments for respiratory cancers include surgeries and therapies. Sometimes, it could be a combination of each.
Most, if not all, war veterans spend almost all day fighting in a war. Besides getting injuries, their body could have trouble functioning the way it normally would.
In this case, their diagnosis may include musculoskeletal ailments when they return. It often refers to complications with their back, joints, muscles, and bones.
Some consider these to be the mildest conditions among other conditions a veteran could experience. Treatment involves resting, stretching, medication, or physical therapy.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
One of the risky health concerns a veteran can go through is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Studies have found the trigger might be trauma caused by their service, infection, or excessive physical exertion. Some also show it may be due to high exposure to toxins and metals.
The disease spreads fast, so it’s crucial to address it as soon as possible. But unlike other veterans’ needs, there’s no known cure for ALS. Professionals aid the issue by providing consistent treatment to slow the progression of the disease.
Common Veterans Health Conditions
Upon returning from the war, you can expect veterans health to come with lots of unresolved diagnoses. The conditions can range from physical to mental issues, and may or may not be treatable. Even so, it’s best to detect them sooner to prevent them from worsening or spreading.
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