Post Traumatic Stress in Vietnam Veterans
For more than twenty years, Patricia Dietz, a wife of a Vietnam veteran, has suffered along with her husband the effects of post traumatic stress disorder. She has stated that, "It has changed everything; it has affected the rest of his and her life." Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is when a person, in this case a veteran from Vietnam, is haunted by his memories of war and death so badly that it affects not only the rest of his life, but others close to him as well.
Any time there is a traumatic event, physical danger, or threat or personal danger, this disorder is able to appear in ones' life (USA Today Magazine). "A key factor is the persons' response to this event, whether it happens to them or they are witnesses to feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror" (USA Today Magazine). "To be classified as PTSD the symptoms must last longer than one month, and usually appear within six months to a year after the event" (USA Today Magazine). Jim Dwyer describes Traumatic memories as "frozen in time, waiting to thaw" (Block, Norris). "PTSD has become a common condition among the armed forces as well as the police, and it has spread throughout society" (Fitzpatrick). "After Vietnam, PTSD appeared and was rapidly taken over from the veterans" (Fitzpatrick).
There are a large number of symptoms of PTSD. The Veterans symptoms can be identical to those symptoms experienced when the actual trauma was occurring (Panzarino). "[symptoms include] May be prone to insomnia, irritability, or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, and an exaggerated startled response when shocked" (USA Today Magazine). Michael Wheeler, a Vietnam veteran, is divorced because of PTSD, he was having thoughts of suicide, he couldn't handle life, he thought he was going crazy (Block, Norris). More symptoms are night terrors (dreams), flashbacks, and recurrent/intrusive thoughts of traumatic events (USA Today Magazine). "Many PTSD...
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Fitzpatrick, Mike. "Doctoring Risk Society: The Home Front" The Lancet 29 March 2003: 1
Pettypiece, Shannon. "Enabling disabled veterans" Crain 's Cleveland Business 2 May 2005: 2
Welsh, Douglas. The Vietnam War New York: Gallery Books, 1982.
Block, Melissa and Michele Norris. Radio interview. 25 April 2003
Panzarino, Peter. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. MedicineNet.com. 24 June 2005 http://www.medicinenet.com/posttraumatic_stress_disorder/article.htm
Goodwin, Jim. The Etiology of Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders. DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS. - - - 1987
Dietz, Patricia. Lecture to class. October 2005
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