Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

brand logo

Am Fam Physician. 2019;100(9):online

See related article on care of military veterans

Returning from deployment is a time of expectation, excitement, and change. However, many military families find that the reunion can be more stressful than being apart. Many families go through an adjustment period that can last for weeks or even months. Knowing what to expect can make the transition easier.

Some phases you might go through when you return home:

  • Pre-entry. You may be excited to come home and might spend a lot of time thinking about what things will be like. You plan things to do at home, at work, and with your family.

  • Reunion. The honeymoon phase that occurs just after you come home. It is a time for you to reconnect with people and relax.

  • Disruption. Problems may come up as you realize how much things changed while you were away. Your family may have new routines, and it may take time for you to adjust. You might be surprised that your family managed as well as they did without you, or you might feel like they don't need you anymore. It is normal to feel envious or resentful during this period.

  • Communication. It is important to talk to your family about how things have changed. You and your family may need to set up new routines. You might need to discuss physical changes, money, decision-making, and changes in the relationships with your spouse and children.

  • Normalcy. You and your family accept the changes and adjust routines. Even though there may be problems, this transition often leads to unexpected growth at home and at work.

Resources

Websites for veterans and their families about deployment, coming home after deployment, and health care for deployment-related issues.

Websites for health-related information for veterans and their families

Continue Reading


More in AFP

More in Pubmed

Copyright © 2019 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.