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Veterans deserve a fighting chance

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While wars wage overseas, some battles are fought in the minds of our veterans.

Aside from physical disabilities, the government fails to fully support soldiers who return to civilian life with post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The risk of developing PTSD differs depending on how much violence they have seen or experienced. Signs include disturbing flashbacks, night terrors, reoccuring nightmares and severe stress when thinking of the event, according to Mayo Clinic.

It is difficult to understand the reasoning behind ignoring the needs of people who would and
might have taken a bullet for us. Securing our country’s freedom seems reason enough to be repaid.

PTSD was not diagnosed as a mental illness until after the major wars of the United States. Government officials and the U.S. army downplayed the issue as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue.” The rising problem has since been more recognized, understood andproperly diagnosed as a mental disorder.

As soldiers return from war, we see more and more of them withdraw and struggle due to this paralyzing disorder. People with PTSD are more likely to develop addictions and often do not have it in them to seek help.

Phyllis Rosales, a retired naval officer, has seen active duty for more than half of the time she was enlisted.

“At times, you cannot seem to be around anyone. I can’t say they [the government] do very much,” she said.

Noticing the signs of PTSD can help more than people think. People see our heroes struggle but figure someone else will help before considering lending a hand themselves.

“You can’t do anything to help, but you’re not trained to do anything. But recognizing it is a step. Sometimes, just talking can help,” Rosales said.

Men and women who drop their everyday lives to be shot at are defined as heroes. Retired Chief Petty Officer Nelson Duncan of the Navy has seen strong men crumble once they have returned to the states.

“No one is doing anything [about PTSD],” he said. “But I, quite frankly, would do it [serve] again. Why? Because every single one of you; were worth it.”

There are programs and hospitals veterans can check into for help and support, but they are not highly rated and are often understaffed. These disorders require highly trained professionals for counseling and care.

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The student news site of Winnetonka High School
Veterans deserve a fighting chance