The U.S. flag has been lowered in Iraq after nearly nine years of war, but experts said that many American veterans will face new challenges when they return home, from post-traumatic stress disorder to rising unemployment.
Paul Rieckhoff, the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told CBS News that “the battles continues” for many American troops returning from Iraq:
"Our veterans are coming home from multiple tours to the toughest economy in decades, so our message for folks around the holidays is, we need you to step up and support our veterans. Don't turn the page on Iraq just because they have pulled out. A great thing you can do is hire a vet. They are dynamic, they're strong and are incredible leaders, and can help at home just like they did overseas."
Scott Bea, an Ohio-based psychologist, told a Fox News affiliate in Cleveland that war vets are treated for everything from PTSD to depression to anxiety.
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"I think it's very similar to the Vietnam conflict," Bea told Fox. "There's so much uncertainty, there's so much a sense a lack of control. I think that's one of the particular elements that's traumatic for these vets."
More than 30 percent of Iraq vets have PTSD that affects their daily routines, according to U.S. Army research from 2010 reported by CNN.
A CBS affiliate in Illinois reports on post-traumatic stress disorder:
Iraq veteran Wesley Dodd came home in 2008 with a knee injury, PTSD and an addiction to pain medication. He was medically retired and joined a methadone program, but he also went on probation after an arrest for forging a prescription.
He said he believed there would be more troops dealing with similar problems as they came home. A pledge from their commander in chief seemed to address those concerns.