Recognizing the mental health needs of veterans

Serving in a combat zone places unimaginable stress on a person’s mental health , and settling back into everyday life at home isn’t easy either. Some returning veterans may hesitate to seek the help they need. Family members can help by being supportive, becoming informed and talking to a healthcare provider. The caring providers at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center extend our sincere gratitude to veterans and their families. When life presents challenges, we’re here to help.

Identifying common mental health challenges
Veterans may display signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. When a veteran has sustained a disabling injury, the resultant physical challenges can add to the mental stress. These problems can be further exacerbated if the veteran tries to cope by turning to alcohol or recreational substances.

Some of the possible symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Intrusive memories
  • Numbness or emotional detachment
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Hypervigilance
  • Impaired concentration
  • Digestive problems
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

Understanding when to seek emergency care
Occasionally, a veteran’s mental health challenges may require a visit to the Emergency Room. Families shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 if their loved one has thoughts of suicide, commits a suicidal action, threatens others or shows aggressive actions to others. The emergency responders and ER staff should be promptly informed that the patient is a veteran who is in mental distress.

Coping with civilian life
Veterans and their families should know that readjusting to civilian life isn’t always easy . It can take some time for veterans to reconnect with their loved ones. Family members should understand that it’s nothing personal—the veteran just needs time to process everything.

Veterans might not be ready to talk about their deployment, especially if they’ve lost a fellow soldier. Families can support veterans by letting them know that they’re ready to listen whenever the veteran is ready to talk.

Mental health counseling and support groups can help both veterans and their loved ones stay resilient in the face of mental health challenges.

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is a state-of-the-art facility staffed by healthcare providers who live and work in the same Thousand Oaks community as our patients. Our dedication to the health and safety of our neighbors is reflected in all that we do. Call a registered nurse at our hospital at (877) 888-5746.

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