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Combat veteran are individuals who have served in past conflicts for their countries and in return for their services are given ample retiree benefits in the form of government stipends, medical and education benefits as well as other such benefits that is due to them. They can range from veterans of World War 2, the Vietnam War, Dessert Storm or the more recent Iraqi and Afghanistan conflict zones.
Most of the individuals who come back seem alright however some come back with life changing injuries in the form of amputations, third degree burns and psychiatric problems in the form of combat trauma. Such injuries can handicap a person for life and at times people who come back from wars seem to be a little less of themselves than when they left. Initially they have problems adjusting to a life that isn’t regimented, where you were told to do and were expected to do it, but with civilian life at times combat veterans seem lost as to what to do.
Their mentality is fixed towards a certain mental state that is constantly on alert for an incoming danger that when they try to integrate back into society they can’t seem to settle down and are always looking around and fidgeting even though there is nothing there to worry about (Campbell 2007). This paper will seek to explain the problems associated with the social integration of combat veterans and the numerous methods of clinical and human intervention that would help them cope with this problem and address its root causes.
Integration into Normal Society Problems with soldiers integrating back into society can be described as a form of post traumatic stress disorder. Wherein the effects of being in a conflict zone has caused undue effects on a persons mental stability (Campbell 2007). This is often characterized by staring out into space for no apparent behavior, an inability to stay put and calm down and in the worse cases the development of a violent temperament which causes them to lash out at friends and family members (Campbell 2007).
As such integrating such individuals does pose a problem since not only do they pose a danger to themselves but to people around them as well. In most cases what is recommended is psychiatric treatment in the form of a weekly or even daily psychiatric intervention where the psychiatrist attempts to get to the heart of the dilemma and solve it. In such cases the problem usually lies with the sudden change in environment and pace of life which the brain has yet to adjust to or even it may be due to an underlying problem that developed as a result of being in a conflict zone (Nye 2008).
Not all problems with combat veterans is linked to combat trauma rather at times it deals with the overall worthlessness that they feel when returning home. Most of them ask the question, what now? After returning from a regimented life where you know what your purpose was and how to do it, most individuals when they return find themselves lost as to what to do now since their sense of purpose disappeared. That they now have to struggle with the rest of the population in finding a purpose and this in itself is a daunting task. Clinical Issues and Intervention Strategies
Most methods of intervention can either involve the use of an institution of family and friends. An institution can either refer to a psychiatric clinic, hospital or getaway where a person can be helped to properly focus their mind away from the trauma of combat and the purposefulness of a regimented lifestyle towards something more productive. In such cases it does work but in the worst of them sometimes the usage of drugs would be recommended in the form of antidepressants that would help a veteran have a more positive outlook on life.
In the family method of intervention friends and family gather to help a veteran get through this point in their lives through group therapy sessions, the encouragement of an outgoing lifestyle and the companionship of friends and family (Campbell 2007). While this may be a more positive approach than psychiatric treatment it does pose dangers especially if the individual in question developed violent tendencies. Future Ways of Dealing with the Problem
Since veterans who possess combat trauma may have psychiatric problems and possess a danger to others one of the best ways of preventing problems in the future would be to create a method of identification for individuals who have recently come back from conflict zones and see if they are experiencing any sort of combat trauma. If they are shown to be having problems psychologically then they should be first segregated and screened at military hospitals before they are allowed to be released into the general populace. This is so that not only will the problem be identified early on but it can also be solved before it gets any worse.
Since another problem with combat veterans is the feeling of helplessness and worthlessness they get from going from a military lifestyle to that of a civilian one attempts should be made to either ease or assist these individuals into civilian careers. While it is true that military personal do have the post 9/11 GI bill which enabled them to pursue higher forms of education there should be other methods available for them since not everyone is willing to study to get a degree (Nye 2008). What must be done is to create a career counseling center for veterans that are leaving the military.
In the centers the individuals in question would be evaluated for competencies in certain fields and if found to be qualified would be hired by a corresponding civilian company that has special agreements with the military to take on veterans as employees. Ability to Treat Population by Human Service Professionals Combat veterans can be classified under 4 categories those who are normal, those who have combat trauma, those that have been physically disabled by the conflict they were in and finally those who feel a sense of worthlessness due to a maladjusted perspective and the suddenness of civilian life.
For those experiencing combat trauma one of the best ways to treat them is through psychiatric treatment facilities, it has been proven that over time and constant care combat veterans have been proven to respond to psychiatric sessions and treatments which eventually enabled them to live normal lives. On the other hand individuals suffering from severe life changing injuries from conflict zones are another story. At times these veterans develop low levels of self esteem at being “less” than what they were.
As a result these cases are trickier than people with combat trauma since there is a constant reminder enforcing the notion that they are useless. The use of artificial limbs, skin grafts and psychiatric treatments usually does work but in some cases these individuals still don’t fully recover. Finally individuals who suffer from a feeling of worthlessness due to their new lifestyles can be helped by career councilors who can help them find jobs and a purpose in life (Nye 2008).
List of References
Campbell, M., & Morrison, A. (2007). The psychological consequences of combat exposure: The importance of appraisals and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology in the occurrence of delusional-like ideas. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 46(2), 187-201. doi:10. 1348/014466506X128287. Nye, E. , Katzman, J. , Bell, J. , Kilpatrick, J. , Brainard, M. , & Haaland, K. (2008). Attachment organization in Vietnam combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Attachment & Human Development, 10(1), 41-57