Veterans Health – Top 5 Must Read Books

Get the Top 5 Books Recommended by the Editors at VT


1. Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors: A Lifeline to New Connection by Carolyn E. Dolen


Traumatic brain injury causes damage to the connections in many parts of the brain besides the focal point of the injury. It’s not enough to heal medically. Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors discusses medical care and goes beyond that to help the survivor heal spiritually, emotionally, cognitively, physically, socially, and vocationally through traditional and complementary medicine and good nutrition.

Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors is one of two well-received books designed to help survivors of brain injuries. The companion book, Brain Injury Rewiring for Loved Ones, describes how family and friends of the survivor can help the survivor during recovery. 

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2. Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan by Erin P. Finley


If you consider Iraq–like I do, probably twenty-nine out of thirty days–to be the pinnacle of your life, then where do you go from there? And I’m sure that a lot of veterans feel that way. To them, that was it. That was everything. So now what? They have to find something meaningful and purposeful.”

“When I got back from Afghanistan, there was not even so much as a briefing that said, Let us know if you’re having problems. There wasn’t so much as a phone number. There was literally nothing. I knew it was crazy. I was thinking, the guy on the roof’s either a sniper or he’s going to radio ahead. And then I thought, this is San Antonio. There’s not snipers on the roof, nobody’s going to blow me up here.”

“Whenever I look at people back here at home, I know what they’re going to look like dead. I know what they look like with their brains blown out or jaws blown off or eyes pulled out. When I look at somebody I see that, to this day.”

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3. War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Edward Tick


The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 16 percent (one in eight) of returning Iraq veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Such vets typically can’t hold jobs. They are incapable of intimacy, creative work, and self-realization. Some can’t leave the house because they are afraid they will kill or be killed. The key to healing, says psychotherapist Ed Tick, is in how we understand PTSD. In war’s overwhelming violence, the soul—the true self—flees and can become lost for life.

He redefines PTSD as a true identity disorder, with radical implications for therapy. First, Tick establishes the traditional context of war in mythology and religion. Then he describes in depth PTSD in terms of identity issues. Finally, drawing on world spiritual traditions, he presents ways to nurture a positive identity based in compassion and forgiveness. War and the Soul will change the way we think about war, for veterans and for all those who love and want to help them. It shows how to make the wounded soul whole again. When this work is achieved, PTSD vanishes and the veteran can truly return home.

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4. Treating Young Veterans: Promoting Resilience Through Practice and Advocacy by Diann Kelly PhD LMSW


Many veterans unsuccessfully attempt to self-manage their mental and physical health needs. This volume examines the multiple challenges awaiting the new generation of young veterans returning to civilian life, and provides strategies for mental health professionals to assist them in the process of readjustment. It incorporates multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art research to present practice and advocacy opportunities that facilitate a healthy and socially engaged reintegration into society for both traditional veterans (enlisted and career military personnel) and nontraditional veterans (reservists, national guardsmen, and women) aged 18 to 40 years.

The volume is divided into three sections: Assessment and Practice Approaches to Promote Resilience; Outreach and Practice With Special Communities, and Advocacy Practice to Promote Young Veterans’ Well-Being. Each section includes an introduction highlighting the chapters, and an epilogue delineating important steps in practice, outreach, and advocacy.

Key Features:

  • Targets the specific needs of veterans of the Iraqi and Afghani conflicts
  • Includes chapters on women and sexual trauma in the military and homeless combat veterans
  • Addresses the special needs of children of veterans and the nature of ambiguous loss as “veteran-by-proxy,” employment issues, and equity issues related to reservists
  • Authored by recognized experts including military officers, attorneys, and Veterans Affairs administrators
  • Designed for both general and scholarly readers

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5. Strategies for Managing Stress After War: Veteran’s Workbook and Guide to Wellness by Julia M. Whealin


Managing Stress After War: Veteran’s Workbook and Guide to Wellness outlines clear strategies for tackling problems such as learning healthy coping skills, sleep problems, and managing stress, anger, and depression. Written in an easy-to-understand style, this essential workbook and its companion clinician’s manual were developed and refined by the authors to help veterans returning from conflicts and provide education and intervention for those who are experiencing war-related stress.

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