Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Last year American troops were pulled out of Iraq, but the battle isn't over once our troops are stateside.
"Bottom line is that war changes people and they come back different," said Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman.
While serving overseas members of our military constantly worry about being attacked. But the stress doesn't just disappear once they come home again.
Blue Star Mothers held a forum to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).
"I'm hoping that they will not be scared of PTSD. I'm hoping they will not be scared of their soldier who's coming back," said LaRue Bettis, a member of Blue Star Mothers.
Bettis has been counseling war veterans for 36 years and tells families to be on the lookout for strange behavior.
"The main thing to look for would be, 'They were not like this before they left,'" Bettis said. "So if there's significant behavioral changes, there's significant sleeping changes, emotional change."
Bohlman just came back from Afghanistan a couple months ago and has seen PTSD up close.
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"I saw numerous people that came through the hospital that were going home because they were just overwhelmed by the trauma that they were exposed to," he said. "Maybe they had a friend who they saw killed right in front of them. Sometimes survivor guilt. 'Why did some one else die, but I lived.'"
The most important message from the forum was that there's nothing wrong with counseling.
"The strong warrior is the one that seeks help. The strong warrior is the one that takes advantage of the resources that are there because the strong warrior knows there are times in life when you need extra help," Bohlman said.
If you know someone who is suffering after serving overseas Defense Centers for Psychological Health offers a free 24-hour hotline at 1-866-966-1020.