Even though veterans are regarded as heroes, are they really? Indeed, they are the ones expressing enough honor and bravery to enlist to defend their nation, even if it means risking their own life. But on the other hand, do heroes kill at all costs, even innocent civilians, even women and children who are nothing but victims of war?

These are the questions that constantly parade through the mind of a soldier once he has truly experienced war first-hand. Basic training or boot camp is used in order to strip away any civilian morals that will only get them slaughtered during combat. In war, your opposition must be defeated at all costs, no matter the circumstances in which that goal must be accomplished. And it is through this mentality that civilians have gotten caught up in the perils of war and lose their lives in a fight that was never their own.

These unfortunate realities of combat are why many veterans develop emotional distress and even various forms of mental illness either during or after their service. The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs finds that one in five combat veterans will develop a psychological ailment called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, sometime during or after his or her service. Veterans develop a mental illness known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTSD can be developed after an individual either witnesses or experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, and that trauma affects them on a deep emotional level.

SFC Randy Abrams, son of Roxann Abrams who founded a non-profit organization, Operation: I.V., in his memory, suffered from frequent nightmares from his tour in Iraq. Abrams would frequently dream of the innocent women and children who were killed in combat during his service, and the guilt surmounted silently inside of him. As it turned out, Abrams was suffering from undiagnosed PTSD, put took his own life before he could seek proper care. Abrams wanted permanent relief from the nightmares and the guilt and depression that accompanied them, and committed suicide. Unfortunately, Abrams is not alone, as 22 combat veterans take their own lives on a daily basis after returning from service. To them, death seems like a permanent relief from their tormenting thoughts while both awake and asleep, but this should not be the fate of our U.S. veterans.

Veterans who suffer from similar guilt and self-loathing after their time at war should seriously consider getting diagnosed for any possible forms of PTSD or other underlying forms of mental illness. For veterans, the VA offers both psychiatric medication and talk-therapy, although studies released in 2012 by CNN and other media outlets found that medical professionals associated with the VA prescribed 259% more narcotics than in 2002, and that individualized therapy had fallen by the wayside. Therefore, ailing soldiers and veterans who suffer from insomnia might want to consider consulting outside organizations to rehabilitate their physical and mental health.

One of those organizations is Operation: I.V, a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2012 that helps combat veterans heal from both PTSD as well as traumatic brain injuries. Its founder, Roxann Abrams, is now a Gold Star Mother after her son's tragic death in 2009.
As a result, Operation: I.V. was founded so that combat veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan have a place to receive treatment through a specialized “VIP”, or “Veteran Intervention Plan” program. “VIP” offers ten different rehabilitation programs, including hyperbolic oxygen therapy, service dogs, and anxiety reduction therapy. Additionally, veterans may also partake in programs such as job retraining, business mentoring, and educational assistance. Again, while there is no cure for PTSD, the programs provided by Operation: I.V. can drastically improve a veteran’s mental health and overall outlook on life.

Author's Bio: 

Abigail Fazelat is a contributing writer for Operation: I.V., a non-profit organization founded by Gold Star Mother Roxann Abrams who lost her son SFC Randy Abrams to PTSD. Randy took his own life after experiencing a wartime flashback- an experience not uncommon to any combat veteran. As a result, Abrams founded Operation: I.V. as an “intravenous of help” for other Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and contemplating suicide. Fazelat has worked for the organization since October 2013 under a pseudonym.