Veterans were asked to put their very lives on the line, doing one of the most dangerous and courageous jobs the United States has to offer. This can have a profound impact on them. Many come back home with injuries and disabilities that will never heal, like lost limbs, traumatic brain injuries and other permanent conditions.
For soldiers who have seen active duty, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is unfortunately common. It manifests in many different ways, often leading to mood changes, flashbacks, personality changes, difficulty keeping a job and much more. Many even end up getting divorced, sometimes because they just seem so different from the person they were before.
After returning from active duty, many veterans find it hard to fit back into society. They just feel like they do not have much in common with people in the States. They feel like they see the world in a new and different way that people who never served just cannot understand.
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.
When people think about the injuries that military members suffer, they often think of troops in a combat zone. They consider enemy fire, improvised explosive devices, and things of this nature.
Many soldiers have to deal with invisible injuries when they return from combat. These could include traumatic brain injuries, emotional issues and mental disorders.
When soldiers return to the United States, they can find themselves facing a lot of roadblocks regarding restarting their careers. Sometimes, they do not have skills that translate well into the civilian world. Other times, they have just been out of the workforce for so long that they're not sure where to begin.
Have you ever wondered just how many people have served in the armed forces? You may be able to find data indicating how large the military is at any given time, but you're interested in the bigger picture. You want to know how many people have served in the past, as well.
Although we know more now than ever before about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, you could say that we are still very much in the early stages of understanding it. People only now really realize what is going on, how it can be a disability, and the type of assistance people need -- often, veterans of foreign wars -- to work through it.
War injuries can change you forever. The physical loss of a limb could make it impossible for you to work, for instance. A traumatic brain injury could change your personality. The post-traumatic stress you feel could stress you out and lead to issues with anger, substance abuse and much more.