The War That Never Ends(Veterans)

Topics: Posttraumatic stress disorder, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Iraq War Pages: 8 (2537 words) Published: April 17, 2013
The War that Never Ends- Soldiers suffering with Post Traumatic stress disorder

The impact of deployment and especially war-zone experiences on the well-being of military personnel and veterans continues to receive growing attention. The military operation in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to raise important questions about the effect of the experience on the mental health of members of the military services who have been deployed there (Hoge et al.,2004). Combat exposure has been linked to an array of negative health consequences, most notably posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the DSM-IV-TR, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop in a person after a traumatic experience in which "the person [has] experienced, witnessed, or [been] confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of [one]self or others. According to the Surgeon General, of those individuals experiencing extreme traumatic events, nine percent develop PTSD. Approximately 50% of those cases will return to a normal mental health state in less than a year. After one year, women were twice as likely to continue with symptoms of traumatic stress.

Sometimes dubbed emotional mental health disorders such as acute stress, depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common by products of military combat (Soldiers’ Mental Health, 2007). During the current U.S.-led war on terrorism a campaign initiated following Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against U.S.- tens of thousands of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq have been diagnosed with such conditions (Soldiers’ Mental Health, 2007). While some military veterans seek medical treatment after they return to the U.S., many do not, beginning what often becomes a life long battle with mental illness (Soldiers’ Mental Health, 2007).

Furthermore, the individual's "response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.” The individual must also experience at least one symptom of intensive recollections, at least three symptoms of avoidance/numbing, and at least two symptoms of hyper arousal. Symptoms of hyper-arousal include sleep problems, irritability, concentration problems, hyper-vigilance, and exaggerated startle response. All symptoms must be present for one month or longer. In order for PTSD to be diagnosed as a disorder, "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of fractioning" must be present.

PTSD received official recognition and a separate diagnostic heading with the DSM-III publication in 1980. However, the symptoms of PTSD have been recognized for centuries. During the Civil War, generals noted that the troops were suffering from "irritable heart" or "effort syndrome," in World War I the diagnosis was "shell shock," and in World War II it was called "battle fatigue" or "combat exhaustion. In modem engagements such as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), symptoms of PTSD are denoted "acute stress," perhaps in an effort to reduce stigma among deployed troops. Whatever its appellation, it is deemed a "signature wound" of the Iraq and Afghanistan engagement veterans. Therefore, military personnel are among the most at-risk populations for exposure to traumatic events and the development of PTSD.

Ethnic minority Veterans may be more likely to disclose problems or engage in treatment when paired with a clinician of the same race (Loo, 2007). Despite study differences, the trend suggests that being an ethnic minority may cause one to be more "at risk" for PTSD (Loo, 2007). The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study found differences among Hispanic, African American, and White Vietnam theater Veterans in terms of readjustment after military service (Loo, 2007). Both Hispanic and African American male Vietnam theater Veterans had higher rates of PTSD than Whites...
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