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Army Looks to Tackle Anger Amongst Combat Vets

anger

By Debbie Gregory.

It is not uncommon for military veterans to join police forces and vice versa. Both jobs offer a strong sense of teamwork and reliance on others in life-or-death situations — in platoons and out on patrol.

That’s part of the reason why these attacks on police by former military men have touched a nerve among veterans who traditionally share a close bond with law enforcement.

In light of the shooting deaths of police in Baton Rouge and Dallas by former service members, the Army is trying to better understand why as many as 40 out of every100 troops return from war struggling with anger and aggression.

Whether there is a link between their military service and the shootings is unknown. And military researchers have been studying the issue of anger for almost a decade.

We all get angry sometimes; it’s part of being human. But if anger is expressed in ways that are harmful to ourselves or someone else, or persists for a long time, it can become a problem.

Reacting to a threat with immediate action, rather than freezing, is an important part of military training. The problem is, a lot of veterans have trouble turning off that survival instinct once they get home.

It is thought that anger and aggression may be linked to combat-zone ailments, including disrupted sleep patterns and recurring nightmares For some veterans, anger can be related to another mental health problem like depression, post traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and other drug use.

Amy Adler, an Army clinical research psychologist, said while military studies show the presence of anger and aggression in some troops returning from war, it remains uncertain whether those emotions reach the kind extreme behavior exhibited in the recent spate of shootings of police.

“I don’t think we know that,” Adler said.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Vets 360 and Carry the Challenge Providing a Safety Net for Combat Vets

vets360

By Debbie Gregory.

The challenges that our young combat veterans face when they transition back to civilian life, such as readjusting to family life, finding a job or going to school, and in many cases, dealing with post-traumatic stress (PTS) and/or physical injuries, can be daunting. Often times, this struggle is solitary, because the military culture does not allow for failure or weakness, even though asking for help is one of the bravest things a veteran can do.

Today’s veterans perceive a negative stigma of PTS so damning to career, family and friends, the “go it alone” attitude is hard to break down. The majority of traumatized vets return from wars that are safer than those their fathers and grandfathers fought, and yet far greater numbers of them wind up alienated and depressed. This is true even for people who didn’t experience combat. It would be safe to say that much of the problem isn’t trauma related as much as re-entry into society.

Vets 360 and Carry the Challenge are working to provide a safety net for these veterans. Eliminating the stigma will allow those struggling with PTS to raise their hands and be open and honest about the challenges they face. Removing the societal barrier that prevents them from saying “I am struggling with PTS” will allow them to receive focused education and support. This simple first step is critical to reduce the epidemic levels of suicide among those going it alone.

When decorated heroes, such as Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg, are joining Vets 360 to speak publicly about their own struggles with PTS, it gives pause to their comrades that the struggle is real, and it is not a sign of weakness.

Groberg said, “We must stand shoulder to shoulder with today’s veterans and Vets 360 to let them know they are not alone when it comes to their challenges with both transition and PTS. Help us get this message out – before crisis kicks in – not after.”

Groberg will be the keynote speaker at the Breaking Silence – Carry the Challenge gala, which will take place on April 16th in San Diego, CA. The gala will be followed by a concert with headliners Madison Rising, America’s number one patriotic rock band. For ticket information, click here.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is to ask/tell/beg todays combat veterans to accept support before cure options are needed or required,” said Vet’s 360 executive director Rick Collins.

For more information as to how you can help support this great non-profit organization, please visit http://www.carrythechallenge.org.