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Having Your Wars & Eating Them Too: Fixing the International Veteran Crisis

We live in a time in which nations are sending unprecedented amounts of allied troops to combat zones in the name of terrorism prevention, the total price of which is staggering and unforeseen. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has hit record numbers and garnered record focus, which is the primary culprit for high suicide, homelessness, divorce and substance abuse in global battle veteran inhabitants.

The here and now

Since 2000, 5 trillion dollars have been surpassed by the cost to allied countries for these military operations, and treating those injured both physically and psychologically continues to hemorrhage billions. It really is approximated that 30% of combat veterans will return showing either total or partial symptom manifestation of PTSD.

Battle veterans are glorified for having served their nation in combat, focusing attention on this group, particularly where the people sees battle veterans homeless and unsupported in the wake of their service. Military injury is the largest statistical group for PTSD, as they are focused within organizations such as Veterans Administrations (VAs) and consequently easily studied.

There are much greater numbers of PTSD from youth and sexual injury than combat trauma, yet battle veterans have excessive rates of homelessness and suicide due to the deficiency of governmental and societal support systems available to adequately cater the currently astronomical influx of demand.

Think of it like this: civilians with PTSD are distribute amongst states, a country, cities and towns. They often have a structure of relatives and buddies around them. The military operates in big bunches. Their base places are regularly called by soldiers residence. VAs are usually created close to military bases, further isolating support for combat veterans.

At present there are billions of dollars spent on a multitude of studies and programs in an attempt to find and solve the PTSD veteran crisis. You might think progress is being made, with all this money spent, yet the results do not reveal attempt or the price to date. There are programs that work, and there are known factors with high success rates, yet these are often discounted as a result of time conditions or, worse, capital, as funding keeps going to new trials and programs.

So what are the difficulties that need to be solved?

Thousands of returning soldiers are suffering sophisticated, therapy immune trauma due to multiple operational tours.

VAs are under-equipped to deal with the PTSD amounts that are returning.

The effectiveness of pharmaceuticals is inconsistent, causing more problems than they fix for the majority yet used as the first line treatment protocol.

That is a shortage of systems that are successful to first treat self medication.

There's a deficit of injury therapists to effectively treat the amount of those affected.

Successful therapies demand a decade even, to be really successful per person.

Federal impairment schemes are stretched with PTSD sufferers to capital limits.

Stigmatization strains reintegration within society both socially and for employment.

Collateral damage is done to the veteran's family.

Difficulties are reasonably easy to identify. The above list is far from exhaustive in presenting problems for combat veterans with PTSD. I am an Australian battle veteran, and whilst the suggestions here are only that, I do not speak for the entire world's battle veteran community. As Australia has quite an exceptional fight veteran support system and affiliated programs in position, I consider myself fortunate. I hope other battle veterans add their own comments to what they believe could be simple, powerful solutions to the present dilemmas.

By no means is the following discussion a total alternative to the above difficulties, and some of the solutions address and intertwine several of our listed problem areas.

Repeated tours broaden PTSD sophistication

Like a child within a hazardous home surroundings, encircled by maltreatment with nowhere to go, a soldier resides in a similar scenario when deployed within a combat zone. For six to twelve months, this is traumatic for many soldiers as an isolated tour, though when compounded by multiple tours -- such as six on, six off, six on, six off -- the continued vulnerability provides little help towards readjustment or effective downtime following a combat tour. Most will stay in an activated and ready state, understanding they redeploy let alone that they'll most probably start pre-deployment training within 3 military ptsd months, further reducing downtime.

The simple alternative to the entire problem? Stop sending troops into foolish wars that make little tactical sense. The conflicting, lies and deceit advice from all the recent wars does little towards credibility to support troop deployments. Defend your state; don't invade others. A simple alternative to the entire issue!

Saying that, politicians and secret agencies can't get enough deceit and power, so troop deployments need to be radically changed to check repeated, extreme exposure to battle. A ratio of 1:3 should be used for all deployments. For every month deployed, you spend dwelling, reintegrating in social life, training, classes, general responsibilities, family and so forth.

Simply put, most deployments are six month in duration for economic and tactical motives, making every spinning 18 months home. That makes a minimum of 15 months cope with any psychological issues that present, to decompress, then start pre- deployment again.

If militaries desire to think long-term, then they need to get onboard such rotation intervals. Losing experienced combat veterans works against every military, so looking after them is in the best interest for all involved.

VAs are under-equipped

VAs are far under-equipped to deal with the present influx of PTSD combat veterans. Wait times can be many hours for what should be an one-hour appointment. Also, it can take months to make that appointment.

Group therapy is neglecting to treat the individual wounding parts of each battle veteran. Whilst group therapy has merit, additionally, it has outcome constraints.

VAs in America are under-funded, using over worked, drained, frustrated employees. The solution is that funds should be focused on the problem, not squandered on diverse alternatives that are experimental. The options are already present -- powerful treatments that provide 60 to 80% restoration, with more time.

Money could wisely be spent enabling combat veterans to seek Va-funded treatment through local, private trauma therapists who deliver trauma treatment techniques that were approved to treat the injury. That may be hard to hear for some in America, as that's socialism vs capitalism. Is every man for themselves really helping the issue? No, no it is not.

In Australia and the United Kingdom, it's helping the difficulty. Battle veterans aren't left to be homeless and ignored. Instead they have government support in place for disability and treatment backing while seeking treatment. Getting folks back and treated to being productive members of society is in every nation's best long term interest.

Pharmaceuticals aren't the reply

Psychiatrists are using pharmaceuticals to treat PTSD with little evidence to support the effectiveness of this type of treatment regimen. Pharmaceuticals have an approximate 25% achievement rate, much less than injury treatments. Sure, they are cheaper than therapy, but they cause much more issues than they fix.

Most combat veterans will be on several medications. Why? So subsequently psychiatrists are prescribing medications to treat the symptoms that another medication created because one will cause other problems. Seriously? This is a sign of just how awful pharmaceuticals are, in that the solution is giving a pill to a difficulty created by a pill. How is this acceptable? Pharmaceuticals are creating more problems than they solve.

Deficit of successful pre-treatment programs

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a foundational treatment protocol that has history to illustrate and support efficacy in treating substance abuse with PTSD. Why are billions being spent on experimental, revolutionary, obscure attempts to find other solutions for treating the veteran catastrophe when the alternatives already exist? Put the billions of dollars toward training staff to deliver the techniques to the affected battle veterans. More will get solved in a shorter period than what's happening now.

Pre-treatment isn't about stopping substance abuse but limiting its use to make therapy overall more effective. Hell, the effectiveness of pre-treatment can be used towards having complete injury treatment paid for at a physician local to the battle veteran as a mark.

Shortage of successful therapists

Therapists are not created equal. This focus on pitching them within a VA and hiring therapists is antiquated, to say the least. You restrict a therapist's possible by exposing them to nothing besides combat injury to learn and treat trauma. Limits become demanded on their learning and techniques. They become desensitized and become less effective at treating their client.

The remedy is not to create a military therapist but to support therapists in private practice, where they have a mix of clients and thus have a combination of treatments they're using and evaluating for effectiveness. Moreover, they aren't becoming burnt out on the atrocities of combat trauma and are not being screwed into supply their service for next to nothing.

A great therapist is made by a joyful therapist. Pay them nicely. Treat them nicely. Ensure they have diversity of clientele, and ensure they have mandatory exposure to continuing learning and techniques.

Successful therapies take time

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR) took 20 years to grow and evolve into one of the most effective treatments for injury. The billions being spent towards idiotic studies and programs by governments needs to quit, and we must repurpose this cash towards genuine accessible treatments that work.

I'm recommending training more therapists in EMDR, Prolonged Exposure (PE), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), ACTION, and receiving these treatments used as first line treatment for PTSD instead of tossing pharmaceuticals around. Using this cash to finance the longevity treatment durations needed to efficiently change 60-80% of returning troops suffering PTSD to civilians that are entirely healed, practical . This only makes sense.

Yes, this is socialism at work, but let us be fair, it is really needed to treat the veteran disaster happening worldwide. The money is being spent already, but instead of being wasted, it can be used to truly treat the problem, not merely appear like something is being done.

Federal impairment stretched to the limitations

Impairment awarded to combat veterans has climbs to dizzying highs. Throwing money at veterans isn't going to solve their problems nor the overall problem. Disability schemes will eventually break governments. As we are an international market now, this issue has far reaching economic impact for all countries concerned.

Sure, cash has to be there to support veterans during treatment, but the difficulty is that money is not being equally used towards the treatment and the impacted. To reduce the overall event of impairment, authorities have to ensure money is being efficiently spent on providing treatment to the affected. It is fairly simple really -- to get your disability payments you actually partaking towards recovery and must be attending therapy. Once deemed recovered by the therapist, help towards re-employment training and then full employment opportunities.

Incapacity is subsequently used effectively, and those who are truly resistant after years of therapy then stay on disability. Keep supplying them the support they need, and you have lessened the longevity weight by a minimum of 60% annual capital. Well... unless you keep sending troops into idiotic wars, that's.

Reintegration employment stigmatization

A more pressing problem for veterans, particularly those who employable, are functional, have cured and are prepared to transition to employment once again, is that PTSD awareness has now reached employers. These companies are now discriminating when learning of military history on resumes and have incorrect beliefs of PTSD sufferers. Employers are currently asking questions which are not permitted to be asked relating to mental health. They are passing over combat veterans on the assumption that PTSD may become an issue for them as an employer.

If governments do figure out how to change the present strategy of treating combat veteran PTSD and get their act together , then an awareness media campaign would also need to be found -- or motivators to hire period, battle veterans -- to thwart the inaccurate stigma connected with PTSD.

Families are collateral damage

The forgotten in all this is the family behind the veteran. They want access to government-assisted support in relation to combat veterans. Partners, siblings and parents want help in how exactly to help their affected fight veteran. They want self-care support. They need access to educational tools to help get their combat veteran back on track in life, towards employment and equilibrium.

Family play a bigger role in assisting their loved one back to health than therapists, but they can not do it. With an approximate 80% divorce rate for serving employees, the PTSD divorce rate is greater. Having battle veterans left their family, or vice versa, isn't helping economy, family, community or the veteran. A snowball effect happens with far reaching impact.

Whether on-line support structures are in place for education, access to free copies of popular PTSD relationship novels, telephone counselling support, even video conferencing and on-line support groups, all of these resources assist assistants to band together, help each other, and help themselves towards helping their veteran.


There are some fairly large issues that presently are just getting worse. Things must change as the current strategy is a dismal failure. We have effective treatments available. They merely need campaigns targeting the stigma of PTSD, cash, time and locality implementation for effectiveness: more official resources freely accessible online and use the truth to blanket the myths that propagate the discrimination and perhaps even motivators to apply combat veterans.

Towards solving the veteran crisis that is PTSD what can you add? Do you feel there is a bigger problem at play that we haven't mentioned? Please share your ideas and maybe, just maybe, someone that issues might take initiative and execute the change needed to repair the issue.