- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Known for short as PTSD, this anxiety disorder develops in individuals who have lived through a dangerous or traumatic event. Symptoms for veterans can include reliving events in the war they served in, feeling on-edge, avoiding situations that bring memories back of the event, and an increase in negativity or numbness toward themselves and other people.
- Depression and Suicide: According to the VA’s National Registry for Depression, 11 percent of veterans over the age of 65 are diagnosed with major depressive disorder, a rate more than twice that of the over-65 general population. The actual rate of depression in veterans is likely much higher but not all seek help or are diagnosed by their doctor. Depression can lead to suicide; sadly, 65 percent of all veterans who died by suicide were over the age of 50. Suicide doesn’t just touch the old. Between 18 and 22 American veterans commit suicide daily, with young veterans between the ages of 18 and 44 being the most at risk, says the National Institutes of Health.
- Survivor’s Guilt: This often forms after veterans feel they had no choice in taking drastic action to ensure their own survival. It can also happen after the death of friends and fellow service members.
Terminally-ill veterans who are nearing the end of life often struggle with difficult spiritual questions. Those challenges are often times worse for those who engaged in combat with enemy forces that demanded the use of violence acts beyond their control. Not only did they have to make difficult sacrifices on the battlefield, they also had to take lives. These internal struggles can lead to: