Mental health problems of the youngest generation of American veterans
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Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University; dean: Grover C. Gilmore
Submission date: 2018-09-27
Publication date: 2018-12-10
LW 2019;97(1):50-55
Wartime activities determine the threats to a soldier’s life and health. To prepare soldiers for a new forms of warfare, one should know the challenges the soldier faces in the midst of battle and after returning home. From 2001 to 2015, 1.2 million American soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan used the health care services of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. An analysis of the resulting medical interventions makes possible a long term evaluation of the effects of war, some of which appear only after the soldier returns to civilian life. This study analyzes the research on the mental health problems of soldiers who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. Veterans report mental health problems reluctantly; they try to solve the problems connected to their return from war on their own. Many cases of traumatic brain injury and post‑traumatic stress are left undiagnosed, while the use of pain relievers and other drugs increases. As a result, veterans may seek help only many months or even years after leaving the military. The sudden increase in the appearance of complex mental health problems among this new generation of veterans necessitated changes in the US healthcare structure and in specialized medical training to meet this new challenge.
No conflicts of interest were declared.
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