VETERANS MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES
In the past decade, more than 2 million Americans have been deployed across seas to serve in theaters of war. After their deployment, many veterans return home with a number of complex behavioral and mental health problems. The stress and trauma of active duty can have a profound impact on service members, exposing them to violence, combat, death and the risk of injury — things that may be difficult for their friends and family to understand. These experiences can take a toll on the well-being of military veterans, contributing to higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and other mental health problems after returning home.
At Achieve Concierge, we’re proud to provide mental health services for military personnel and veterans. Our clinicians – many of whom have served in the military or worked directly for the Department of Veterans Affairs – can help veterans manage the symptoms they’re experiencing with a range of treatment options that include personalized care plans, medication management and proven psychotherapies. Our goal is to improve our patients’ quality of life and deliver long-term symptom relief from mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety and depression.
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
While deployed, veterans encounter traumatic events such as war, disaster and acts of violence — all of which can trigger the onset of PTSD. Once referred to as shell shock or combat fatigue, PTSD is a mental health disorder that can develop after a frightening or distressing experience. With lasting symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks and intense feelings of fear or anxiety, PTSD can interfere with a veteran’s daily life and cause problems readjusting to society. It can also disrupt the ability to maintain healthy relationships and negatively affect their physical well-being. If left untreated, veterans with PTSD are more likely to become depressed or develop a substance abuse problem.
Many veterans also struggle with mood disorders like depression. They may be haunted by the past and feel disillusioned, withdrawn and hopeless after returning home, finding it difficult to function or complete daily tasks. Or they may experience feelings of guilt or shame, fatigue, a loss of interest in activities, suicidal thoughts and changes in appetite or sleeping habits. These and other symptoms are persistent and disruptive to daily life, negatively impacting personal relationships and the ability to work, go to school or care for a family. Mood disorders can affect anyone, but studies show that veterans with PTSD are at higher risk for developing. The good news is that both conditions can be treated concurrently with the right care and support.
Anxiety is another common mental health disorder among veterans and military personnel due to the stress, trauma and turmoil they’ve experienced. Anxiety disorders can manifest as panic attacks that occur suddenly or a persistent feeling of dread, worry or being on edge. These symptoms are often accompanied by a racing heart, trouble breathing, sweating and other physical reactions. There are many different types of anxiety, but each can interfere with the ability to concentrate or function normally and affect work, home or family life. Fortunately, anxiety in veterans can be managed with the proper treatment.
Veterans may also struggle with substance abuse, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), suicidal thoughts and other mental health challenges at rates higher than the general population. Since any of these can make it difficult to function normally, a proper diagnosis and treatment are required to improve a veteran’s health, wellness and overall quality of life.
How Does PTSD Affect a Veteran?
PTSD occurs due to trauma that keeps a person’s brain on high alert. A traumatic experience triggers the release of stress hormones in the brain, but for a veteran coping with PTSD, the body continues to send out stress signals even after the event has passed. This may result in many symptoms that have a negative impact on daily life.
Common symptoms of PTSD in veterans include flashbacks, nightmares, trouble sleeping, angry outbursts, and feelings of guilt. PTSD may also lead a veteran to avoid people, places, and things that serve as reminders of a traumatic event, isolating them from others.
There is no telling exactly when PTSD symptoms will start. In some cases, PTSD symptoms begin within about three months of a traumatic event. But in other instances, PTSD symptoms can show up years later. If PTSD symptoms go unaddressed, they can affect a veteran for the duration of their lifetime and lead to the development of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.
VETERANS MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
At Achieve Concierge, we offer a wide range of veterans mental health services in San Diego to help veterans dealing with PTSD and other mental health disorders. We develop tailor mental health treatment plans for each patient, ensuring that he or she receives the individualized care and support they need to heal. As our expert medical clinicians learn about each patient, they may also recommend psychotherapy, medication, or other treatment options to help a veteran successfully cope with their mental health symptoms.
PTSD and other mental health disorders are commonly treated with psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. With psychotherapy, a veteran can work toward changing negative thought patterns and behaviors and develop strategies to cope with their mental and emotional symptoms.
Sometimes, a doctor may also prescribe psychiatric medications to help a veteran manage their mental health symptoms. For example, antidepressants can be used to treat the symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety, but the effectiveness will depend on the individual patient, the mediation prescribed and other factors. In certain instances, antidepressants can help veterans reduce the intensity of their PTSD symptoms and achieve a more stable mood. In most cases, a combination of psychotherapy and medication is often necessary for veterans dealing with these complex mental health disorders.
At Achieve Concierge, our medical clinicians can provide veterans with extensive support and treatment for PTSD, anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, helping them learn how to cope with and manage the symptoms they are experiencing.
CAN PTSD BE CURED?
While there is no cure for PTSD and symptoms can be tough to manage, a proper diagnosis and the right support can drastically improve a veteran’s quality of life. A combination of therapy and treatment can help veterans uncover new, healthier ways to manage their PTSD symptoms and learn how to cope with the challenges they face.
If a veteran experiences PTSD symptoms that continue for a month or longer, meeting with a doctor is a great place to start treatment. PTSD symptoms can get worse over time, and if it reaches a point where a veteran experiences suicidal thoughts, he or she should call 911 for immediate medical support.
CONTACT ACHIEVE CONCIERGE
Achieve Concierge delivers veterans mental health services in San Diego that treat a patient’s mind, body, and spirit. We offer a personalized mental health treatment program that may encompass a collection of therapies to help veterans manage their mental health disorder symptoms. Furthermore, we utilize the experiences of those of our providers with military service history to ensure that our treatment plans consider the life experiences of veterans. To learn more about our mental health services for veterans in San Diego or schedule a consultation, please contact us online, or call us today at (619) 393-6087.