Service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may face many health challenges. Some of the biggest challenges facing veterans are brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. According to a recent article in USA Today, almost 213,000 veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries in those conflicts since 2000. In addition, about 300,000 service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experienced PTSD or major depression.
These kinds of injuries can be debilitating and may make it impossible to work after returning to civilian life. A veteran suffering from these conditions may need to seek disability benefits. Timely treatment can help to reduce the short and long-term impact of these injuries.
To that end, many medical associations and universities are currently pledging to devote more resources toward learning more about the health needs of veterans and spending more time teaching medical students on how to best care for veterans.
First Lady Michelle Obama recently highlighted some of these efforts during a talk at a medical school in Virginia. She was speaking as part of her efforts in the Joining Forces campaign, which she runs along with Jill Biden in an effort to improve medical care for veterans around the country.
Obama noted that many veterans to not seek help for their brain injuries, PTSD or depression and she urged any veterans experiencing symptoms of any of these conditions to ask for help. She reminded the vets that asking for help is a sign of strength.
Source: USA Today, "First Lady: More research on veterans medical care," Jan. 12, 2012
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