War has been described as hell and rightly so. There are many hellish results of war and none more elusive and insidious than mental illness. This has always been a critical part of the human cost of war and none more costly than soldiers who come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Veterans have always been subject to head wounds and none more so than those returning from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars due to the prevalence of explosive devices.
These explosive devices actually send out shock waves that shake the brain violently and produce traumatic brain injury. There are currently some 350, 000 servicemen and women who have come home with mild to severe head injuries incurred while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U. S. defense department has called these wounds the signature though invisible wounds of these two wars.
The April 25, 2013 issue of Time Magazine has an incredible article with more information on this subject. It is stunning and scary. Yet, it shows us that the issues of mental illness that have not been and still aren’t addressed well by our society are about to get even more critical. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The Pentagon’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center published a report on Wednesday. It continues a tradition of not sugar-coating war’s painful residue with an editorial entitled Signature Scars of the Long War:
Many U.S. casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted from rocket and mortar attacks, detonations of land mines, ambushes of convoys and patrols, and sniper attacks. In turn, many war veterans suffer from the clinical sequelae of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). TBI and PTSD are now often referred to as the “signature wounds” of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. In addition to TBI and PTSD, however, diverse other physical and psychological disorders have been associated with repeated or lengthy wartime deployments. These conditions include disorders of the neck, back (e.g., intervertebral disc disorders), and other joints; hearing loss, alcohol and drug abuse, organic sleep disorders, headache, chronic sinusitis, skin conditions, and various “ill-defined” conditions.
Read more at: http://nation.time.com/2013/04/25/msmr/#ixzz2SAnJsdf9