Psychological disorders occur in different forms including trauma, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), bipolar and dissociative amnesia among several others. These conditions lead to a general devastation of the health quality of individuals, but due to societal, familial or individual ignorance, the victims are often neglected, disregarded or dismissed (Barlow & Durand, 2011). I have witnessed societal disregard and lack of support for the veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The veterans coming back to the United States of America from the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq are considered violent, highly irritable and dangerous to the societies that they re-enter after their missions or on retirement.
The veterans are often excluded from the rest of the community based on narrow mythical assertions. The society openly dismisses the homeless and traumatized veterans instead of efficiently being reintegrated. Employees fear to recruit them. The exiting societal support systems also become dismissive of such people. People feel that having been on the battlefield and participating in the killing of the assailants means that the veterans are inhuman and cannot then be allowed to integrate into the society freely. This exclusion exacerbates the trauma and stigmatization among the returnee soldiers whose lives deteriorate if they do not get help from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (Barlow & Durand, 2011).
Based on psychological research, it is evident that emotional illnesses impair the ability of victims to control their behavior hence are likely to be not only irrational but also display skewed dispositions and act abnormally. While some psychological disorders are genetic, most of them are acquired due to factors such as traumatizing experiences including witnessing brutal warfare, loss of loved ones or any other form of threat to an individual life (Barlow & Durand, 2011). Studies show that early diagnosis and treatment or control of mental diseases result in better outcomes than when they are realized late. Through psychotherapy and psychiatric medication, mental illnesses can be successfully treated, and the lives of victims restored to healthy living. However, with lack of societal support and suspicions about victims as being violent, they become stigmatized and feel excluded from the mainstream society leading to progression of their conditions to critical stages. Without proactive interventions, psychological illnesses may have permanent effects on the brain functioning or result in avoidable deaths (Barlow & Durand, 2011). In the case of PTSD veterans, it is essential to sensitize the society about the stressors that come with combat. Situations such as witnessing colleagues killed by the assailants, being in a harsh environment, the absence of familial support, and being wounded at war are stressors that collectively make the veterans susceptible to PTSD.
An understanding of each psychological disorder, its signs and symptoms, causation and possible interventions is vital in addressing them. For instance, without the professional knowledge about PTSD, one is likely to dismiss veterans as being haunted, negligent with their lives or merely living their combat lifestyle. However, through a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes PTSD, trauma, schizophrenia or bipolar among others, one would be sensitive to their signs and symptoms hence provide the victims with the necessary support. The support would include linking them to existing social support networks, hospital facilities as well as offering them a conducive environment within which they can feel part of the community (Barlow & Durand, 2011). The inclusion of psychologically ill people results in a state of partial mental calm which is essential in recovery.
Barlow and Durand (2011). Abnormal Psychology: An Integrated Approach, 6thedition. Belmont, CA; Wadsworth.
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