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Post Deployment Health and Distress Responses: Overview for Practitioners

As the Global War on Terror continues, more service members will be exposed or re-exposed to combat experiences. This exposure will affect them as well as countless military spouses, children, parents, siblings, and friends of the deployed.

Studies of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan show that the vast majority will ease back into their day-to-day lives after a period of transition and reintegration. But, some portion (up to 20% of returning service members) is likely to continue to endorse symptoms that are consistent with emotional problems such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. Clinical conditions like these generally benefit from treatment. Other returning service members may fall somewhere between these two groups or may demonstrate changed behaviors that are worrisome to family members or friends, such as increased alcohol consumption, aggression or reckless driving.