The Wars- Effects on Humans

Topics: Iraq War, Posttraumatic stress disorder, United States Department of Veterans Affairs Pages: 5 (1760 words) Published: July 30, 2006
War has been a constant part of human history. It has greatly affected the lives of people around the world. These effects, however, are extremely detrimental. Soldiers must shoulder extreme stress on the battlefield. Those that cannot mentally overcome these challenges may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sadly, some resort to suicide to escape their insecurities. Soldiers, however, are not the only ones affected by wars; family members also experience mental hardships when their loved ones are sent to war. Timothy Findley accurately portrays the detrimental effects wars have on individuals in his masterpiece The Wars. Findley suggests that war can alter a person's behaviour negatively. Robert Ross, the protagonist of his novel The Wars, portrays symptoms of what is known today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Findley writes: His temper, you know, was terrible. Once when he thought he was alone and unobserved I saw him firing his gun in the woods at a young tree… Other times he would throw things down and break them on the ground… he had a great deal of violence inside and sometimes it emerged this way with a gesture and other times it showed in his expression when you found him sitting alone on the terrace or staring out a window. (Findley 152-153)

War is having a growing effect on Robert; his exposure to violence is leaving him in an increasingly fragile state. His behaviour can be interpreted as being increasingly violent and can show his decreasing mental health. Robert's declining mental health may be due to lack of sleep. He said, "Sleep was dangerous…No matter what your mind said, your

body didn't listen. Part of you always stayed awake…. Nobody dreams on a battle field. There isn't any sleep that long." (Findley 93) Robert said this while in a dugout near the trenches. During the night they can hear the "sound of distant rifle fire." (Findley 92) They are constantly subjected to the sound of war as well as its dangers. In fact, when the dugout was partially destroyed by artillery fire, Levitt becomes slightly mad. Robert observes in Levitt "an edge of craziness in his voice that sounded dangerous." (Findley 113) These young men changed as they experienced more of the war. Findley demonstrates how war greatly changes human behaviour. Findley accurately portrays the effects of war on human behaviour. Today, soldiers can be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after exhibiting behaviour that is similar to the characters mentioned in the previous paragraph. According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, "People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life." It can be developed when a person is exposed to "a traumatic, stressful event". In fact, "Military personnel in war zones frequently have serious reactions to their traumatic war experiences." Some reactions include "anxiety and panic", "irritability and anger", and "emotional numbing." Furthermore, disorders such as "alcohol abuse", "major depressive episodes", "drug abuse", and "social phobias" can be developed. PTSD is a huge problem because approximately "30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD." War brings many harmful changes to human behaviour that can

lead to dangerous acts that affect one's physical and mental health. (National Center for PTSD)
Findley suggests that some soldiers may be driven to suicide by their experiences in war. One such character is Rodwell. Rodwell is extremely fond for animals and keeps them in his company even on the battlefield. He was eventually sent to the front lines and was forced to watch the killing of a cat by his fellow soldiers. Findley wrote, "Half and hour later, Rodwell wandered into No...
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