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Blast injuries, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress (PTS) are the wounds of war, but as wounded service members return home, there is another battle on the home front. The wounds of war touch families as well, including their spouses, parents, children, siblings, and caregivers.

It is the less visible wounds of changes in cognition, emotions, and behavior that can be so puzzling and frustrating for veterans and their families. Wrestling with the demons of the aftermath of war requires support, information and expertise. These blog articles by and about veterans and service members share their experiences.

Service Dogs Help Veterans with PTSD

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There’s some really interesting research being funded by the Department of Defense on the use of psychiatric service dogs to help veterans deal with the psychological wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many veterans who have received service dogs are reporting dramatic decreases in the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as the use of medications.

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Blast Injuries and Concussions in Veterans

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Blasts and explosions are major causes of brain injuries in soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Concussion or mild brain injury is often not diagnosed since there is no loss of consciousness and soldiers return to duty. Post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) have been diagnosed among soldiers and veterans exposed to combat stress who have returned home.

The severity of a brain injury ranges from very minor concussion to extremely severe brain trauma. Service members are exposed to additional damage from the blast’s impact. They can be thrown or propelled by the blast, be burned and inhale toxic substances.

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Families of Veterans with Mild Brain Injury

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Service members and veterans with undiagnosed brain injuries can have difficulty adjusting to family life after returning home. Repeated exposure to blasts increases the likelihood of concussion. Screening soldiers and veterans for concussion or mild brain injury after exposure to blasts and after coming home helps identify symptoms. Early treatment can help veterans cope with symptoms and assist recovery. Equally important is educating family members about mild brain injury.

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Blast Injury PTSD in Reservists and National Guard by Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.

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Reservists and National Guard have long deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan which are stressful for families and children. War changes soldiers. Many veterans come home with blast injuries, undiagnosed concussions, post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), burns and amputated limbs. Adjusting to civilian life, going to college, returning to work, and living with family can be stressful for veterans and family members.

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