The Effects of the Iraq War

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The Effects of the Iraq War
Shelly Johnson
Research Writing/COM 220
August 20, 2010
Instructor Sharon Cronk-Raby

The Effects of the Iraq War
The media and the military are focused on the positive effects of the Iraq War and how the soldiers have a job to defend the country, which is true. There are also many negative effects the war has had on the soldiers and their families. It is safe to assume that all soldiers are affected by their experiences in war. These soldiers are coming home to fight a whole new battle, their mental health. Although the military thinks they are ready to assist the soldiers coming home from the Iraq War, they have no comprehension of the psychological effects of this war. The Iraq War has taken a toll on soldiers and their families. Throughout history, there have been many accounts of nightmares and other emotional troubles associated with the effects of war. These nightmares and traumas are also known as PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When a soldier experiences PTSD, he replays the events of trauma as images, thoughts or frightening dreams, which causes intense psychological distress (Litz & Orsilla, 2007). Many recall seeing the murder of women and children, the smell of burning flesh, and the screaming children as they destroyed their homes, which haunts them every day (Welch, 2005). The consequences of combat can be particularly disturbing when these soldiers are handling the remains of civilians, enemy soldiers, and their own United States soldiers. These soldiers who return from war and have PTSD will have difficulty sleeping, become irritable and have angry outburst and have a hard time concentrating. They tend to have impairment in their social lives and work environments. Between 8.5% and 14% of soldiers returning from Iraq report serious functional impairment because of either post traumatic stress disorder or depression, according to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry (“About one-tenth of soldiers returning from Iraq may be impaired by mental health problems.” 2010). Alcohol misuse or aggressive behavior, including slamming doors, punching holes in walls or threatening or perpetrating physical violence in anger was present in about half of the cases of PTSD or depression (“About one-tenth of soldiers returning from Iraq may be impaired by mental health problems.” 2010). These soldiers will each have their own issues or problems, whether they are social, psychological, or psychiatric. Most soldiers are not immediately impacted by their experiences; however, they are at risk of chronic mental health issues from war experiences (Modell, 2009).There seems to be more attention on this war as opposed to past wars because of the length of time spent in these combat situation. Each Veteran returning home will have their own story of what he or she witnessed or what experiences they had. Many will know soldiers who killed themselves in Iraq or know soldiers who were killed in Iraq. A soldier with a wounded child. This is one of those traumatic images that cause PTSD. (“Pictures of our soldiers in Iraq that will never make the news” n.d.). According to a report in USA Today (“Army reports record number of suicides for June.” 2010), soldiers killed themselves at a rate of one per day in June of this year. That is 32 soldiers who took their own lives. Of this number, 22 of these soldiers had been in combat, to include 10 soldiers that were deployed two or more times. Are these suicides linked to PTSD or other mental health disorders? Seeking help for a psychological illness is a sign of weakness to many military members. Last year the Army reported its worst year for suicides, which confirmed 244 cases (“Army reports record number of suicides for June.” 2010).

A soldier looking at the dog tags of fallen fellow soldiers.(“Pictures of our soldier in Iraq that will never make the news” n.d.). Marriage and family life suffer greatly from deployments. Wives of...
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