The Veterans Crisis Line received a record number of calls in March 2023. The staff fielded over 88,000 calls during the month, 28% higher than any previous month. Authorities with the Veterans Administration believe that the surge is only the start of a burgeoning problem that will continue for the foreseeable future. While veterans can suffer from any mental health condition, some mental health challenges are often seen in veterans.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
The nature of a soldier’s job makes them very prone to post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers often relive the events they witnessed while serving. Authorities say they have noticed a sizeable uptick since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan.
Depression can occur alone in soldiers, but it is about four times more likely to appear alongside post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans with changes in their sleeping and eating habits, difficulty focusing, and feeling hopeless for longer than two weeks may suffer from depression.
Substance Abuse Disorder
Alcohol use is the most common type of substance abuse disorder among veterans. About 10% of veterans have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. Over 3% of veterans report using marijuana illegally in the last 30 days. Additionally, 1.7% reported using other types of illegal drugs in the previous month.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Up to 78% of returning veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries, including loss of consciousness, alteration of mental state and balance issues. Many veterans recover from the initial injury, but some continue to have mental health challenges related to their traumatic brain injury. Veterans with a traumatic brain injury should look for mental health conditions, including becoming frustrated quickly.
Mental health challenges can affect everyone. Yet, many veterans feel that they are too tough to get help with them. Even if you are not a veteran, but have mental health challenges, reach out today.
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