Serving in the military is a great honor, and veterans have made immense sacrifices for their country. However, military service can bring with it a range of physical and mental health challenges, and many veterans face disabilities as a result of their service. Here are six disabilities that are common in veterans.
The Most Common Illnesses Among Veterans
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Those who served their country and were exposed to horrific situations may be at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma-related stress disorder symptoms include reliving the event, having dreams about it, avoiding reminders of it, and being constantly on edge. PTSD may have serious psychological and social consequences, including increased vulnerability to despair, anxiety, and drug misuse.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs because of a violent blow or jolt to the body or head. It is a common injury for veterans who have been in situations where they were exposed to explosions, such as those caused by IEDs. Symptoms of TBI can include headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. TBI can also lead to mood changes, such as depression or irritability.
Hearing loss is a common problem among veterans due to prolonged exposure to loud sounds like explosions and shootings. A person’s quality of life may be profoundly altered by even slight hearing loss. Those who have served our country and suffered from hearing loss may have experienced social isolation as a result of their difficulties communicating. Several mental health issues, such as sadness and anxiety, have been linked to hearing loss.
Musculoskeletal injuries, such as back, knee, and shoulder pain, are common among veterans. These injuries can result from carrying heavy equipment, such as backpacks and weapons, for long periods. Injuries to the musculoskeletal system are a common source of persistent pain and functional limitations. Depression and anxiety are only two of the many conditions they might exacerbate.
Exposure to blasts or other combat-related injuries can cause vision loss among veterans. Loss of sight, no matter how little or severe, may have a devastating effect on an individual’s quality of life. Combat veterans who have suffered a visual loss may feel alone and unable to participate fully in society due to difficulties with reading and driving. There are other health issues that might stem from vision loss, such as sadness and anxiety.
Tips for Veterans to Maintain Health and Well-being
While some disabilities are inevitable due to the nature of military service, there are ways veterans can reduce their chances of developing certain disabilities.
Get Regular Check-ups
Regular medical check-ups can help detect any health problems early on and prevent them from worsening. For instance, many navy ships are constructed with asbestos-containing materials. Therefore, veterans who served on navy ships with asbestos exposure are encouraged to schedule regular check-ups with their healthcare providers and monitor their respiratory health closely. This way, they can detect any signs of asbestos-related illnesses.
Wear Protective Gear
Wearing appropriate protective gear, such as helmets and earplugs, can reduce the risk of injuries and disabilities.
Practice Good Safety Habits
Practicing good safety habits, such as following proper lifting techniques, can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
Seek Help for Mental Health Concerns
Getting treatment may help soldiers with PTSD manage their symptoms and lessen the likelihood that they will develop further mental health problems.
Stay Physically Active
Staying physically active can help veterans maintain their physical health and reduce the risk of developing certain health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Avoid Risky Behaviors
Avoiding risky behaviors, like smoking and drinking, can reduce the risk of developing certain health problems, such as lung cancer and liver disease.
Challenges Faced by Veterans with Disabilities
Reduced Quality of Life
Disabilities such as PTSD and TBI can greatly affect veterans’ quality of life. They may experience chronic pain, limited mobility, and difficulty performing daily activities.
Disabilities can also lead to social isolation, as veterans may struggle to participate in social activities or communicate with others.
Disabilities can also lead to financial difficulties, as veterans may be unable to work or require expensive medical treatments.
Military engagement is a huge commitment, and veterans frequently endure physical and mental health difficulties due to their service. PTSD, TBI, hearing loss, musculoskeletal problems, and vision loss are all prevalent ailments among veterans. These limitations may substantially influence a person’s everyday life leading to additional health concerns, such as despair and anxiety. Managing these impairments and improving veterans’ quality of life requires access to high-quality medical treatment and supportive services.