Question: My son is returning from serving in the army next month and I was wondering how I could tell if he has any mental health problems. I keep hearing about veterans having problems, so I want to know what to watch out for.
-Jennifer M., Glendale, NY
Answer: A large number of returning service members are dealing with mental health issues including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders. Therefore, it is important to watch for signs of any of these problems so that they can be addressed properly without waiting for a crisis.
Here are a few of the more common symptoms that turn up for returning veterans: Increased irritability or getting angry over small things, hyper-vigilance- being overly nervous about noises or other things that are happening as well as difficulty sleeping due to anxiety, flashbacks and disassociation- reliving in the mind a particularly scary moment from the battlefield, relationship problems- this can be caused by the long separation during deployment but can also be a related to increased irritability due to depression or PTSD.