In relation to Traumatic Brain Injury and
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Feb 26, 2014
“Doctors used to call it "shell shock," "soldier 's heart," or "nostalgia." Soldiers would shake uncontrollably, experience heart palpitations, or go blind after witnessing trauma on the battlefield. From as far back as ancient Greece, history reveals the psychological toll of war on soldiers. (Baran, 2010).
In the United States, combat fatigue was coined to describe the mental health issues of soldiers that had returned from Vietnam. Common experiences among veterans were an inability to concentrate, insomnia, nightmares, restlessness, and impatience with almost any job or course of study, as well as alienation, depression, mistrust and expectation of betrayal. About 15 percent of American soldiers who served in Vietnam were still suffering from war-related mental health issues fifteen years after the war, according to a government-funded report published in 1990. (Baran, 2010). In 1980, Vietnam veterans pushed for legislation and acceptance in the medical and psychology fields concerning combat fatigue. Later that year, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was recognized by practitioners and was returned back to the DSM as a mental health issue. Experts believed that up to 30% of Vietnam veterans were facing mental health issues and PTSD. (Baran, 2010) It is estimated that since the Vietnam War has ended, approximately 150,000 veterans have committed suicide.
The landscape of the United States was changed on the morning of September 11, 2001. In response to the attack, in October 2001 active duty soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was launched. By January 2002, more than 30,000 military personnel from active duty and reserves were involved in the conflict. In March 2003, military personnel were
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