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Anxiety Disorders, OCD & PTSD A forum to discuss Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Simple Phobias, and Social Anxiety Disorder

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Old 10-02-04, 01:45 PM
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VA prepares for surge in mental health problems

By TARA COPP
Scripps Howard News Service
September 28, 2004

WASHINGTON - Veterans Affairs hospitals are bracing for an increase in mental health problems over the next decade as troops return from Iraq with an array of post-war mental problems.

Post-traumatic stress disorders often take the form of flashbacks or nightmares after a life-threatening event and can lead to severe depression or worse.

To assist returning troops, the VA has installed psychiatric and psychology services at each of its outpatient clinics. It is ramping up substance abuse programs to help soldiers who develop drug or alcohol problems after returning home. And as a last resort, it has paid for 10,000 beds in community centers across the country to house veterans who end up homeless.

"Unfortunately, mental health leads to homelessness as well," said Secretary of Veterans' Affairs Anthony Principi.

With more than 1,000 soldiers killed and more than 7,000 wounded, a majority of soldiers in Iraq say they or someone they serve with have been exposed to a life-threatening situation. Principi said the mental effects of the war won't be fully realized for years.

"With this type of war, this insurgency warfare, where you don't know whether you are going to be the next victim of a car bomb, a roadside bomb, or an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) - it's like fighting in Vietnam," said Principi, a Vietnam veteran. "I think we're going to see an increase. We have to be ready for it."

Already, the Department of Veterans' Affairs has sent out 178,000 letters to returning troops notifying them of services available. Unlike years past, the VA has an office open at each base to make it easier for troops to find help. So far about 15 percent of the returning troops have sought some form of VA health care, Principi said.

"We're trying to attack it (PTSD) in as many ways as possible," he said.

http://www.knoxstudio.com/shns/story...9-28-04&cat=WW
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Old 10-02-04, 01:51 PM
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My nephew just graduated boot camp and has found out that the unit he will be joining has been put on alert for later this year. He's so young...I find it hard to believe that a 19 year old is being asked to make a life or death decision; luckily, he seems to have grown more then just physically during his training at boot camp and was lucky enough to get a Commander who has already served one tour in Iraq and is very open about talking to the boys about what they will see and be asked to do. Right now we just hold our breath, hug him when we can and pray-- I guess that is all we can do at this time. Sadly, the price for freedom is often much more then we can bare to pay.
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