Ingredients for the Perfect Storm
On a daily basis, through the newspapers and television, we hear and read stories about the problems faced by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with physical and psychological problems. At the APA conference this week the problem of 300,000 military members with PTSD was presented. Last week the number of drug overdoses, intentional and accidental, in wounded military personnel undergoing outpatient rehabilitation and other treatment was revealed. These soldiers are housed in transitional quarters on military bases, away from family, receiving limited services and case management. Many of these soldiers are disabled from traumatic brain injury and have other physical and psychological problems. Another story focused on the high number of suicides in military exceeding the number of war related deaths. The picture being painted for us is bleak and dangerous. Our soldiers need immediate help. The hidden psychological injuries must be identified and treated. The overt injuries and related disabilities cannot continue to be shuttled off into waiting lines and minimal treatment while task forces and committees are convened.
Disabilities from any cause affect every aspect of a person's life and treatment cannot be deferred. We need to move rapidly to bring the resources that are available in the civilian world to the members of our military who need help.