A few weeks ago, President Obama mentioned in his State of the Union speech that, through the course of this year, 34,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan will be brought back home as part of an overall strategy to remove all combat troops from the region by the end of 2014.
While this is undeniably good news for the families who have waited to see their loved ones who've put their lives on the line, the relatively rapid drawdown over the next two years will put extra pressure on a system that is already struggling to place veterans into new careers -- especially those who have suffered from the scourge of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Unlike many other types of wounds, including traumatic brain injury, that have been rampant in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, PTSD sometimes betrays no physical scars or signs of its presence except in the behavior of its victims. While the effects of PTSD can be devastating -- loss of concentration, irritability, recurring nightmares, anxiety, sleep disorders, panic attacks -- it doesn't have to be a death knell for a returning soldier's civilian career.
Dr. Nathan D. Ainspan, an industrial psychologist with the U.S. Army and author of "When the Warrior Returns: Making the Transition at Home," wrote on the Defense Centers of Excellence website in December about how some nonprofits and corporations are providing services to help PTSD sufferers transition to a rewarding career by making small accommodations for the disability, just like any other condition covered in the Americans With Disabilities Act.