Honoring Veterans

For those interested in mental health, PTSD is often the first issue that springs to mind when contemplating veterans. Many have argued that particularly in the unconventional wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, where threats to some troops are more or less constant, serving our country makes one more vulnerable than ever to psychological damage. The toll that prolonged separation and injury takes on troops and their families amounts to more collateral damage--in some cases resulting in broken hearts, bodies, and minds.

As much as we need to advocate for proper mental health care for troops, it's also important to celebrate the positive psychological aspects of those who have served or do serve. The camaraderie soldiers develop with one another, the pride they and their families feel in the often rewarding work that they do, and the physical courage they display are strengths to be admired by all Americans.

Here are some ways to help veterans today.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological reaction that occurs after an extremely stressful event, such as physical violence or military combat. Those suffering from PTSD have recurring memories of the stressful event and are anxious or scared even in the absence of danger.


Psychological trauma may set in after a distressing or life-threatening event. Sufferers may develop extreme anxiety or PTSD, or they may have ongoing problems with relationships and self-esteem.


Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.


Some 15 million Americans struggle with depressionan illness that comes in many forms—from major depression and seasonal affective disorder, to dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts.


Memory makes us. If we couldn't recall the who, what, where, and when of our everyday lives, we would never be able to manage. We mull over ideas in the present with our short-term (or working) memory, while we store past events and learned meanings in our long-term (episodic or semantic) memory.