May is Military Appreciation Month. There is no more honorable deed than to serve and defend one’s country and its citizens. America’s military servicemen and service women, veterans and those we’ve lost deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. That’s why May is Military Appreciation Month, culminating with the May 25 Memorial Day observance. Unfortunately, many returning soldiers face difficult futures enduring ongoing physical, emotional and psychological battles. Consider these statistics on military and combat-related injuries:
- Some 30 percent of all combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- The number of diagnosed cases of PTSD in the military jumped 50 percent between 2009 and 2010
- In a recent study, 44 percent of the members of an infantry brigade reported experiencing chronic pain for three months or longer after returning to the US after serving tours of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq. That figure is nearly double the rate among civilians suffering chronic pain
- In the same study, nearly half (48 percent) of the soldiers reporting chronic pain said their pain had lasted a year or longer and 55 percent said they suffered daily or constant pain.
- Soldiers are nearly four times more likely than civilians to treat their chronic pain with prescription narcotics that can lead to addictions.
- Between 10 percent and 20 percent of all Iraq war veterans suffer at least a mild level of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those percentages represent some 150,000 to 400,000 veterans. For those who also sustained injuries to other parts of the body, the TBI rate rises to 33 percent.
Perhaps the most frustrating and heartbreaking factor in these statistics is that many of them go untreated and scores more may never be diagnosed in the first place. TBI can be difficult to diagnose because most are closed-head injuries that can’t be seen without X-ray or other diagnostic imaging. Plus, symptoms of TBI and PTSD are similar, which means the two often are misdiagnosed as the other. Plus, rampant peer pressure to “tough it out” can influence many military members and veterans to opt out of seeking needed medical or psychological help.
With multiple military bases in the region, Jacksonville has a high population of current and retired service members. If you are among them and believe that you may be suffering one of these or other service-related injuries, don’t simply tough it out. Get the help you need, and if necessary, enlist the help of a dedicated veteran’s disability benefits attorney to help assure you and your family get the benefits you so richly deserve. Reach Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111 to schedule a consultation.