Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Relation to Military Service

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in relation to Military Service

Brian L. Stevens

Excelsior College


The recent United States related military conflicts in the Middle East, most notably in Iraq, have increased public awareness of not only the physical wounds, but also the emotional trauma associated with military combat. For soldiers, life-threatening experiences can occur in the conduct of everyday tasks and in the midst of community activities such as shopping or walking to the place of duty for the day. Large explosive devices that detonate nearby can produce traumatic brain injury or a loss of limbs. In the recent years, the mental health profession has refined its understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD as an extreme reaction to traumatic events that occur in the presence of military duty and/or combat.

Title of Paper
According to Parrish (2001), during the early 1880s, military doctors began diagnosing soldiers with “exhaustion” following the stress of battle. This condition was shown as a mental shutdown due to individual or group trauma. Also during this period, in England there was a syndrome known as “railway spine” that bore a resemblance to what is referred to PTSD today. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. Individuals with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. They may also experience sleep problems, poor concentration, irritability, anger, constantly scanning the environment for danger, extreme physical reactivity, recurrent and distressing nightmares of the traumatic event, feel detached, and...
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