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Homeless vets often struggle with undiagnosed PTSD

If you have a family member who served in the armed forces in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or other military operations, you can probably recall the long months of deployment waiting for word of your loved one's safety. When your family member returned home, you likely welcomed him with some kind of celebration. It was not long, however, before you understood that the experience had changed your loved one.

You may be spending as much time now worrying about your loved one as you did during his deployment. This time, however, it is because your loved one is homeless. After struggling to return to civilian life, your loved one's isolation became complete. You may be starting to understand that a proper medical diagnosis could bring hope to your loved one's life.

Achieving a diagnosis is the first step

More than 10% of homeless people in the country are veterans of the U.S. military. Over 90% of them are men. A sizeable number of service members suffer from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. It is not surprising that, if your loved one served in one of the many military operations in recent history, he or she experienced at least one disturbing event that triggered changes in the brain. These changes are the brain's efforts to protect your loved one from additional trauma, but they appear as any of the following behaviors:

  • Flashbacks, nightmares or other ways of re-living the traumatic event
  • Emotional numbness or angry outbursts
  • Feelings of pessimism about life
  • Overreaction to noises, sights or other situations
  • Feelings of being in danger when no danger is present
  • Physical symptoms including chest pains, stomach aches, sweating and other signs of high anxiety

Your loved one may also struggle with depression or substance abuse. Any of these symptoms makes it difficult for your family member to hold a job or maintain personal relationships. Fortunately, once a doctor diagnoses PTSD, there are options for treatment that may offer your loved one a chance at a normal life. This includes obtaining the financial support your family member needs from the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration.

Once your loved one has a medical diagnosis, you can take steps to obtain the services and benefits he or she deserves. If you are unsure where to begin, you can reach out to a compassionate Florida attorney who is devoted to assisting struggling military veterans and who will strive to find the solutions to your loved one's legal issues.

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