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Medical, Social, and Emotional Problems in the Military

Essay by   •  February 2, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  3,656 Words (15 Pages)  •  1,484 Views

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Abstract

Thousands of US veterans cannot leave the horrors of their combat experience. They bring their experiences home and relive each experience almost every time they close their eyes. Almost anything can trigger Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real and many of our veterans are diagnosed with this disorder after returning home from war. PTSD effects a smaller hippocampus (a region of the brain that plays a role in memory) than people who have not been exposed to trauma (Glicken, 2011). A social workers' purpose is to sustain military readiness by enhancing the quality of service members, military families, units and communities (Glicken, 2011). Social Workers play different roles, helping soldiers and commanders maintain the morale necessary to keep units at full fighting strength. Families are an important part of the picture. Social workers help troops focus on their mission or duty without being overwhelmed with family-related problems. Many soldiers are often deployed. The stages of deployment are: Pre-deployment, Deployment, Sustainment, Redeployment, and Post-deployment. The Veterans Administration (VA) was established to provide benefits and services to veterans and their families in a responsive, timely and compassionate manner in recognition of their service to the nation (Glicken, 2011). A lot of programs are offered by the VA. Community residential care (CRC) program is an example of the services provided. As a group we worked together to develop a detail presentation and paper. We've learned that social workers play a major role in the life of soldiers and veterans. In this paper you will find the functions of a social worker in the military, the purpose of military social workers, the stages and effects of deployment, The Veterans Administration (VA), and Veterans Benefits.

In 2005 the VA conducted a study of 168,528 Iraqi veterans, 20 percent of the veterans were diagnosed with psychological dis orders. 1,641 of these veterans were diagnosed with PTSD. The job of a solider is never done. They have to learn to cope with things that regular civilians would not be able to cope with. Hundreds of soldiers return form war with psychological disorders and go untreated. Millions of our veterans need assistance to transition from combat to everyday life. It is the job of a military social worker to assist the soldiers and their families with these transitions.

A social workers job in the military is to focus on improving conditions that cause social problems (Glicken, 2011). Some examples of this may be drug and alcohol abuse, racism, and sexism. The purpose of a social worker is to sustain military readiness by enhancing the quality of service members, families, units, and communities (Glicken, 2011). Some social workers task include: counsel military personnel and their families members, supervise counselors and caseworkers, survey military personnel to identify problems and plan solutions, plan social action programs to rehabilitate personnel with programs, plan and monitor equal opportunity programs, conduct research on social problems and programs, and organize community activities on military bases (Glicken, 2011).

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an emotional illness that is classified as an anxiety disorder and usually develops as a result of terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience. PTSD effects a smaller hippocampus (a region if the brain that plays a major role in memory) than other people who have not been exposed to trauma. There are three symptom groups for PTSD (Hamner, 1997). The person experiencing PTSD have recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma, avoidance to the point of having a phobia of places, people, and experiences that reminds the sufferer of the trauma or a general numbing of emotional responsiveness, and chronic physical signs of hyper arousal (this includes sleeping problems, trouble concentrating, irritability, anger, poor concentration, blackouts or difficulty remembering things, increased tendency, and reaction to being startled, and hyper vigilance (excessive watchfulness) to threat (Glicken, 2011). Post-traumatic Stress Disorder treatment usually includes psychological and medical interventions. They provide you with information about the illness and help the individual manage the trauma by talking about it directly (Glicken, 2011). There is also, treatment available that teaches the person ways to manage symptoms of PTSD and the exploration and modification of inaccurate ways of thinking about the trauma (Hamner, 1997). For many years now social workers have served in the military since World War I. The US Army relied on social workers to help provide a collection of services. A social workers responsibility in the military is to center on improving conditions that cause unhealthy social problems, such as alcohol abuse, sexism, drug abuse and racism (Glicken, 2011). The principle of social work in the military is to sustain military readiness by enhancing the quality of service members, military families, units, and many communities (Glicken,2011). In first Gulf War, the U.S. Army structured social workers into combat zones on mental health teams called combat operations stress control teams (Glicken, 2011).

Social Workers have specific functions in the military. One of the most important functions is to reunite soldiers with their families (Glicken, 2011). Many soldiers have family withdrawal and long absences and changing family circumstances sometimes require social work intervention through family support programs and mental health counseling (Glicken, 2011). Thousands of social workers are helping military personnel adjust to civilian life by contributing family and parent support groups and centers. For the first time in our history, many women with children are serving in war zones, which can be a great amount of anxiety rising within the families about welfare of their mothers. Mothers are kept in contact with their children, and when problems arise with the children social workers provide necessary help (Glicken, 2011). Soldiers that are about be deployed are often more prone to abuse, particularly when they aren't ready to go to war.

Social work staffs evaluate and treat drug and alcohol problems. These problems were epidemic in Vietnam and seem to be serious problems in the wars in the Middle East (Glicken, 2011). Working with soldiers who have been wounded or disabled are helped by a social worker. Numerous soldiers have developed of will develop PTSD and are in need of long-term treatment (Glicken, 2011).

There are wide ranges of social work programs, some of which are geared specifically to war to help military families. Social workers offer clinical services. Clinical services include marriage and family counseling

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