It's difficult to cope with war

Soldiers know what they're signing up for when they join the military, but that does not mean that they're ready to deal with the true experience of war, either mentally or emotionally. It's hard to say anyone is. War is very difficult, stressful and traumatic. Even a just war to protect the innocent, where the solider knows they are doing the right thing and feels proud of what they have accomplished, can leave someone with mental scars they carry for life. That's just the nature of war itself.

In some cases, these mental scars are so serious that they impact the person's life in very tangible ways for years to come. A few potential symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Fear about the future
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Emotional numbing
  • Apathy
  • Feeling powerless
  • General sadness
  • Clinical depression
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Changes to diet, such as a lack of appetite or extreme hunger
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches
  • Crying without any other apparent reason
  • Drug use
  • Excessive drinking
  • Feeling isolated
  • Actively withdrawing

At times, these symptoms show a generalized condition of anxiety and stress. In other cases, they may actually qualify as a distinct medical condition, like clinical depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Everyone's experience is different and everyone's reaction to that experience is different.

What is important is just for soldiers to know that they are not alone. War impacts everyone in drastic ways. Those who find themselves dealing with disabling mental and emotional issues need to look into all of their treatment options and the legal rights that they have.

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