There has traditionally been a stigma with veterans which has prevented them from seeking treatment for mental health issues brought on by being in combat zones. The stigma is typically caused by the fact that they do not want to be seen as weak or as unable to deal with war despite the fact that the issues that they are suffering with could result on there being a serious risk to family members and friends.
In addition the destructive thoughts and issues brought on by trying to cope with the mental issues can cause the veteran to participate in destructive behaviors such as excessive drinking and also drug use which could lead to early death or even suicide. This does not even include the potential for their lives to be ruined by legal problems that could arise from the destructive behavior.
The stigma according to research can be brought on by the belief that others will see them as weak or it can also be internal with the veteran believing that they just need to be stronger in order to cope with the issues. There are many efforts being made right now to try to help veterans overcome the psychological effects of war and get treatment by making them realize that it is a normal response to a stressful and traumatic situation.
Also the veteran should be convinced to see the psychological problems as a medical problem rather than as a weakness of character. The veteran should be reminded that by overcoming the psychological problems he or she can reach his or her full potential as both a citizen and as a veteran which they are not currently able to do under the current stresses caused by the problem.
The stigmas have also been categories into three main categories which are mainly the following: the ‘Crazy Vet’, the ‘Jerk’ and ‘Weak’. The ‘Crazy Vet’ is actually someone who is continuously reliving the traumatic experience in their mind and thus comes across as out of touch with reality because of the fact that they are reliving the combat situation over and over in their minds. The ‘Jerk’ is actually someone who is trying to block the painfulness of the traumatic war experiences by shutting out people out of their lives and out of their feelings. These people often come off as being abrasive to others. Finally the ‘Weak’ individual is often categorized as being extremely nervous and overreacting to situations. The reason why this may occur according to studies being exposed to trauma-causing situations for a long period of time actually causes changes in the nervous system that leads to the veteran being easily excitable.
Psychologists are currently trying to use these findings in order to come up with methods to persuade veterans to get help. Today more and more veterans are being assisted with help for psychological issues resulting from war as a result of trying to use new methods to convince Vets to participate.