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Vets can qualify for PTSD benefits more easily afer VA loosens criteria

Gregory Remus

I recently read a couple of articles regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and want to share with you the surprising statistics and information.

A study of the first 100,000 [Iraq and Afghanistan] veterans seen at VA facilities showed that 25percent of them received mental health diagnoses. Of these, 56 percent had two or more mental health diagnoses. The most common were PTSD, substance abuse, and depression. "The younger the veterans are, the more likely they are to have mental health conditions."

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD.

People with PTSD experience three different kinds of symptoms.

n The first (re-experiencing symptoms) involves reliving the trauma in some way such as becoming upset when confronted with a traumatic reminder or thinking about the trauma when you are trying to do something else.

n The second (avoidance and numbing symptoms) involves either staying away from places or people that remind you of the trauma, isolating from other people, or feeling numb.

n The third (arousal symptoms) includes things such as feeling on guard, irritable, or startling easily. People with PTSD may feel constantly alert after the traumatic event.

It is very common for other conditions to occur along with PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. People with PTSD often have problems functioning. In general, people with PTSD have more unemployment, divorce or separation, spouse abuse and chance of being fired than people without PTSD.

Vietnam veterans with PTSD were found to have many problems with family and other interpersonal relationships, problems with employment, and increased incidents of violence.

Early treatment is important and may help reduce long-term symptoms. Unfortunately, many people do not know that they have PTSD or do not seek treatment. The purpose of this article is to help you to better understand PTSD. The first step in treatment is to recognize something may be wrong and then seek a professional to evaluate your condition. If you believe you have PTSD or know of someone who does. encourage them to contact myself or the closest VA facility.

On another note, there is going to be a veteran's outreach/seminar in the near future here in Park Rapids. This will be an opportunity to learn and inquire about veteran benefits. More to follow!

The purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs. You can contact me at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office at 201 Fair Ave, Park Rapids, 732-3561. Have a great day!