Common Health Problems Faced by Veterans

Veterans returning home from combat, unfortunately, tend to suffer from long-term health issues. Here is a look at some common health problems suffered by veterans returning from war.


Post-traumatic stress disorder — or PTSD — is a mental health problem that is suffered by people who have been through traumatic life-threatening situations. Active combat is one of the most stressful and traumatic circumstances a human can go through and therefore many veterans suffer from PTSD after returning home from war. Symptoms include vivid and terrifying flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts, and emotional numbing. Although not all veterans suffer from PTSD — may have a hard time putting their experiences behind them after being in such a life-and-death situation. Like most mental health problems, there is no instant cure for PTSD. It requires a mixture of medication and therapy administered by a professional who deals specifically with veterans. Luckily, there are resources available through the VA for any US veterans who are currently struggling with PTSD.  

Chronic Pain 

Chronic pain is another common health problem suffered by veterans who were injured in combat. The human body simply wasn’t designed to withstand such intense physical distress and therefore many veterans end up suffering from long-term pain well after they’ve been discharged. Musculoskeletal problems are the number one reason for medical discharge from the armed forces – which by definition are chronic and resistant to treatment. To make matters worse, chronic pain and PTSD often go hand in hand. Just like PTSD, there is no simple cure to chronic pain. Medication and physical therapy are the best ways to mitigate the suffering and over time it’s possible to return to normal functioning. However, it all depends on what kind of pain it is and how severe the injury. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available for veterans who are suffering.

Exposure to Hazardous Materials 

Many veterans deployed in active combat have been exposed to dangerous agents and materials that cause long-term health risks. In Vietnam, it was Agent Orange and other dangerous pesticides that led to birth defects in children and other health effects. Plus, materials like Asbestos found in many buildings and products from the Middle East to South East Asia are likewise responsible for serious long-term health consequences such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a dangerous form of cancer caused by exposure to materials like asbestos and can be very deadly if left untreated. If you are a veteran who was exposed to asbestos or other hazardous materials while in combat, the VA has plenty of resources available. Plus, mesothelioma assistance and support organizations offer resources on everything from legal settlements to asbestos trust funds. Although it can be tough to undo the damage done on the battlefield, there are plenty of resources available to help veterans continue to lead a happy, comfortable life.