Post Traumatic Stress Disorder In The Vietnam War

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Posttraumatic stress disorder is defined on WebMD as, “a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened (Posttraumatic).” What this definition does not inform you about is the thousands of lives that are affected by PTSD and the countless men and women who have taken their life. The war in Vietnam, the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict, and the advancements in modern combat have and are still playing a dominant role in the suffering of thousands of veterans across America. To talk about the effect of PTSD, one must first know what it is and how it affects our behavior. PTSD usually appears in victims about three months after the …show more content…
In Vietnam, the average age of a soldier was just 22 years old. Coming straight out of high school, these young men were thrown into a conflict far beyond their comprehension, and were forced to take up arms against an enemy. To add to this, the average age the brain stops developing is 25. These men were placed in situations where every choice mattered, and their brains were still underdeveloped. In contrast, the average age of a solider who served in the Iraq/Afghanistan War was 27 (History of PTSD Through Warfare). Within the Vietnam War, there was a larger sense of insecurity; the fact that anyone and everyone could be the enemy frightened many. Within Iraq and Afghanistan, this insecurity was much smaller when in the mountains or out in the open, but in the towns and villages, people could turn instantly from being your guide to your killer. U.S. involvement in Vietnam took place from 1965 to 1973, meaning that warfare had developed far past the trench warfare of World War I. New weapons emerged, like the M-16, nicknamed the “Jamming Jenny” and “Mattel Gun” for its bad construction and constant jamming. This further contributed to the stress of the environment. Imagine being rushed by the enemy and your weapon jams: what would you do? New bombs such as Napalm and phosphorus bombs killed thousands and left permanent scars on those who saw their effects. When one thinks of the …show more content…
Constant flashbacks, nightmares and violent thoughts can shake and rattle the victim. He or she will start to lose interest in things they used to enjoy, for they live in fear, and they start to stray away from society. Becoming less social, they don’t go out as much, and will stay at home, often to relive their frightful moments by themselves. Simple objects can bring them back to a time they do not want to remember. A picture could have them crying, a sight or loud sound will startle them. They may often feel the guilt and blame for surviving, and will only see what they have done wrong. In a survey by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs on stressors in Iraq and Afghanistan, 95% said that seeing dead bodies distressed them the most. For Afghanistan, that number was 39%, but 66% said that being shot at was what caused them the most distress. These events are clearly disturbing enough to provoke a sense of emotion from soldiers. To add to that, the survey concluded that soldiers coming back from Iraq had significantly higher rates of mental problems, including PTSD, than in Afghanistan (Mental Health Effects of Serving in Afghanistan and Iraq). This is in part due to the fact Iraq was an urban war, fought in the cities in tight spaces. Around the corner, death lurked. It was this tenseness that drove soldiers frantic, to the brink of insanity. They were fighting amongst civilians. In a

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