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Ptsd in War Vetrens

Essay by review  •  November 28, 2010  •  Essay  •  687 Words (3 Pages)  •  829 Views

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"PTSD in War Veterans"

PTSD, or commonly known as Post-traumatic stress disorder, is the development of characteristic symptoms after a psychologically traumatic event, typically outside the range of usual human experience. It is important to remember that the reaction to stress is highly individualized, which means that the stress that would cause this syndrome in one person could possibly have little, if any, effect on another person. (TCMD). Vietnam veterans are particularly vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder. Thousands of the 600,000 Americans who served in that war still suffer feelings of alienation, sleeping problems, relieving of painful experiences, and difficulty concentrating. Most veterans do not suffer from the disorder; of those who do, many did not experience symptoms until months or even years after their return home. Those who suffer from the disorder seem more likely to have other stressful events in their lives, which in turn make the disorder seem worse--a vicious cycle. (Lefton)

The Vietnam War created unique psychological problems. Survival--not patriotism--was the primary concern of many military personnel who served in the war. Some men turned to drugs and alcohol to alleviate fear; others sought the help of professionals. For a number of complicated psychological, political, and social reasons, mental health practitioners have tended to be unresponsive to individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Too often, clients were held responsible for how they reacted to stress. Now that psychologists recognize the disorder, special help in the form of workshops and therapy has become available. (Lefton) A review of two scientific articles shows significant information on the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in war veterans.

In an article written by Lawrence C. Kolb, M.D., a study was conducted by a group of psychologists to find out the effects of stress on war veterans. In this study, a hypothesis was drawn that cortical neuronal and synaptic changes occur in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as the consequence of excessive and prolonged sensitizing stimulation leading to depression of habituating learning. (Kolb)

To begin the studies, observations of approximately 300 hospitalized war veterans was gathered and researched. The majority of the patients had experienced long and high-level combat exposure. Many patients attest to experiencing what the psychologists refer to as socially impairing disassociative states, or "flashbacks" as more commonly known. Along with these "flashbacks", many indicated the persistence of a startle reaction with associated physiological arousal on exposure to sharp



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