Serving in the military is a dream for many passionate individuals. Apart from collecting honor and dignity, you also enjoy numerous perks, such as high pay scales, accommodation, and free medical checkups. However, the profession requires you to be strong, both mentally and physically, and keeping up with the challenges is not an easy job.

Military officers undergo rigorous training that keeps them in shape to ensure they perform their duties effectively. But once they retire, their health may deteriorate because of several health conditions. These include some of the following:

1. Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a chronic disease that is very common among military personnel. According to a rough estimate, more than 30% of diagnosed mesothelioma patients in the US are military service members. This disease is caused by excessive asbestos exposure – the primary component the US military uses for developing weaponry, military buildings, and more.

In the past, military veterans were unaware of the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. They continued to serve their country without realizing they were dealing with deadly substances. But because mesothelioma symptoms do not surface before 10-50 years, it is extremely difficult to diagnose at its early stages.

Today, military personnel can visit mesothelioma veterans centers for more information on the disease and on how to get help. Patients are diagnosed with this disease once they retire. The disease spreads slowly, thus exhibiting no noticeable signs or symptoms early on. An early-stage diagnosis is only possible if patients go for regular checkups. 

2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Mental health issues are quite common among individuals serving in the military, and rightly so. The military profession requires you to be mentally tough because of the extreme nature of the job. From protecting the borders to dealing with weapons of mass destruction, you put your life on the line to serve your country. Even during combat, you must face extreme situations that can induce mental health problems.

PTSD is triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event such as a terrorist act, terrifying accident, and war. Also known as shell shock, it is one of the most common mental health problems veterans experience. A recent study shows that about 3.5% of adults living in the US have PTSD.

A person suffering from PTSD experiences disturbing thoughts and feelings linked to a past traumatic event. The individual may suffer from flashbacks and nightmares that haunt them even years after the event. Healthcare professionals believe that patients with PTSD exhibit emotions of sadness, anger, and fear. They might isolate themselves and react negatively to anything that relives that terrifying incident. Regardless, getting professional help is the best course of action to treat PTSD.

3. Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is another health problem many veterans experience. TBI occurs if a person receives a severe blow to the head or body. Instances where military personnel had objects going through their brain tissue, such as bullets, were later diagnosed with TBI. Depending on the severity of the incident, the symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Mild traumatic brain injury is linked with temporary brain malfunctioning due to damaged brain cells. As a result, you may experience abrupt mood changes, headache, nausea, dizziness, and problems in speech. However, in case of severe traumatic brain injury, the person may suffer from torn tissues and internal bleeding. Such injuries often lead to long-term complications and even death.

Treating traumatic brain injury starts with timely medical checkups immediately after receiving a blow to your head. Based on the intensity of the blow, healthcare professionals might term it as mild, moderate, or severe TBI. Remember that any behavioral changes you may witness or experience after a blow to the head should not be taken lightly.

4. Substance use disorder 

While serving in the military, dealing with mental stress is one of the biggest challenges that military personnel experience. Numerous indicators suggest that military exercises, training, and covert missions test your mental limits. While some manage to cope with stressful situations, most veterans resort to substance abuse, which soon becomes an addiction. This addiction is classified as substance use disorder (SUD).

SUD is a medical ailment that adversely affects your brain functioning. Individuals suffering from this condition cannot control their desire for drugs and other illegal medicine. Once addicted, they may continue to use harmful drugs despite their consequences.

Addiction can be a nuisance, and it continues to grow until it is controlled through medical treatment and group therapy. Military veterans often find themselves addicted to drugs later in their service and after retirement. Healthcare providers believe that military veterans’ most common cause of drug addiction is financial stress and PTSD. Although the substance use disorder is curable, the treatment may continue for several months or even years until full recovery.

5. Suicide

Suicide is among the leading cause of death among military personnel. Officers sometimes find themselves in situations resulting in immense trauma, stress, and depression. Such mental conditions often force individuals to take extreme steps and intentionally harm themselves to death.

Suicide cases are rising rapidly among military veterans because of the extreme mental and physical pain that they go through their entire lives. They might experience traumatic incidents during their careers, such as terrorist activities and combat, making them prone to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. On top of that, financial stress and unhealthy relationships further lead to additional mental problems, thus forcing veterans to commit suicide. 

According to the data published by National Veteran Suicide Prevention Report in 2019, more than 6000 military veterans took their own lives in the US every year. The suicide statistics suggest that suicide attempt is nearly 1.5 times higher in military personnel compared to the non-military population. Stress and depression are the primary culprits.


Mental health problems are continuously rising among military veterans throughout the world. Apart from experiencing tragic events, military personnel finds themselves in a state of depression and stress due to extreme job responsibilities. As a result, most fall victim to PTSD, TBI, mesothelioma, drug addiction, and suicide. Unhealthy officers should get professional help as soon as possible. This will help them live healthier and happier lives.


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