As Americans, we are indebted to your services in keeping our country safe and secure. By going to war, you took care of the lives of a million Americans, and now it’s time we extend the same courtesy and look after your health. Coming back from any traumatizing event like war takes a toll on your well-being in more than one way. Your mental health may get shattered, your emotional stability may be shaky, and physically your wounds can cause a great deal of distress.

Your country has your back. However, you must seek treatment and try to reclaim your life. Therefore the first step in this long journey is to ensure your health improves. Fortunately for you, there are various perks that the Department of Veteran Affairs has in store for you. From accessing resources to healthcare insurance. You can keep an eye out for the ailments and conditions you need to get treated for through this guide. This will help you rebuild the kind of life you want. So to help you heal, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Explore Health Coverage Programs

As a veteran, you are eligible for different health coverage programs given that you had an honorable discharge. To sign up for these resources or avail of insurances related to veteran health issues, you need to call or mail the relevant department and enroll.

These facilities aim to provide you with the best primary care with the most qualified doctors who are well versed in working with Veterans.

You also get a chance to get surgery at an affordable cost with excellent outpatient facilities, all aimed at your recovery. Simultaneously, these programs allow you to get your prescription medications at home, on time, and according to dosage. Some noteworthy insurances include the Veterans Healthcare program, Tricare, and Spina Bifida healthcare program. While the first two are aimed at providing you with a network of doctors and surgeons in exchange for a minimal cost and access to machinery you can take home.

The last one serves an entirely different purpose. The Spina Bifida program aims to help the children of veterans born with Spina Bifida, which impacts the spine. The insurance companies cover the expensive treatment. If you don’t have coverage, you can always look towards the health insurance marketplace. Depending on your household income, you can get low-cost coverage through Medicaid or Children’s health insurance programs. If you have a disability, you may even receive disability compensation and an at-home aide to look after you.

  1. Common Health Ailments

You may be going through health issues that can be physical, mental or both. When your body is not in harmony, it can wreak havoc on your system, causing discomfort, pain, and agony. Therefore, you must recognize these signs and symptoms so that you’re able to communicate with your doctor comprehensively:

  • Physical Issues. Handling weapons and being in the middle of a heavy war zone can affect your physical well-being. You may have residual shrapnel lodged in your body, bullet wounds that get poorly sealed, scars, and unhealed tissue. You may even have Traumatic brain injury, which results from a substantial impact on your head, causing intense headaches, fatigue, and memory problems. Over 80% of veterans also report chronic pain, and there’s a high chance you may be facing a similar dilemma. You may have severe inflammation and joints that flare up at the slightest movement in some instances. These can be frozen shoulders and pain in your arms, back, and legs.
  • Mental Health Conditions. Over 1 million veterans got treated for mental health issues in one year. These include depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, night terrors, and severe stress disorder. The symptoms include insomnia, hallucinations, nightmares, anxiety, and sometimes temporarily losing a sense of time and space. PTSD is the most common ailment reported by over 30% of male veterans.
  • Amputation. Post-2010, more than 1600 veterans had an amputation because of a battle injury. Caring for an amputated limb can be challenging, especially when you have to learn to use it with prosthetics or entirely forgo it. Care also includes looking after the sensitive skin and preventing recurring infections, which are not uncommon.
  • Substance Abuse Disorder. It is not uncommon for most military personnel to turn to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes to find comfort and use them as stress relievers. Working in the armed forces is stressful and can leave you panicked and exhausted. Unfortunately, too much substance misuse can also lead to suicide and self-harm. If you find far too much comfort in abusing substances, you need help.
  1. Seeking Healthcare

Going for a checkup is essential to understand what you’re going through. A general physician will start with a physical inspection to get an idea of what they’re dealing with. These doctors will account for your wounds, appearance, and size. Steadily they’ll move on to your fingers and joints, probing and testing for reflexes to check where the damage is. You may also need to get blood tests, lipid profiles, and an MRI if a doctor suspects you have heavy metals poisoning or have trauma in your head.

A GP may put you on medication and refer you to a physical therapist or a psychiatrist for further examination and evaluation. In extreme cases, if you served in the military in the early 1980s, you may get screened for mesothelioma. If you test positive for cancer, you may get referred to an oncologist. Psychiatry, on the other hand, is vastly different. A psychiatrist will put you through tests to determine your mental health condition. If you show signs of aggression, evade questions, have lingering painful memories, and have trouble sleeping, they will assist you accordingly.

Visiting a psychiatrist can lead to more medication and a session with a therapist with various counseling methods to elevate your health. For instance, the amount of anxiety you’re carrying may get deduced through the Hamilton anxiety scale. Along with mental health conditions, an at-home nurse may get arranged for you if you also have an accompanying disability such as a mobility issue.

  1. How to Manage A Crisis?

Despite undergoing extensive medical treatment, there is still a chance you may have an episode where you blackout, lash out aggressively or have a severe meltdown. In such cases, your caregiver’s responsibility is to look after you while ensuring they’re safe. If you’re having mental health troubles, your caregiver may call, Contact Give An Hour, a group of over 5,000 private therapists who help military families. This is free of cost and can connect you to a licensed professional who may regulate your symptoms, bringing you out of your episode.

However, if you’re experiencing anxiety from PTSD, there is a chance you may get violent. Suppose your caregiver sees you turning aggressive, attacking others, or even seeing signs of self-harm. First, they need to vacate the area and then contact domestic abuse hotlines, 911, crises veteran hotlines, or VA caregiver hotlines to get a team of professionals to subdue you. This is not to make you feel guilty but to protect you and your loved ones from getting harmed.

Final Thoughts

War comes at a heavy price. The lasting damage it leaves is too hard to forget. This is why as a veteran, your services are indistinguishable since it takes both courage and bravery to put your life at risk. However, coming home after a war can be an excruciating process with physical ailments, mental health conditions, and substance abuse disorders. But there is help for you.

Through the perks available for veterans, you can get insurance and resources to tap into health care programs. These allow you to receive the treatment you need. Once you’re home, your caregiver can utilize a crisis management helpline to guide you during an intense meltdown. With these facilities in place, you will soon walk the path of healing and fulfillment.