Mental Illness and POWs Essay

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Any member of the Armed Forces who is held in captivity as a POW or as a hostage is more likely to be at a higher risk of mental illness like PTSD. This assumption goes against everything that was thought to be known during WWI, it was noted time and time again that both English and German POWs were somehow immune to war neuroses and only susceptible to the newly identified barbed wire disease which is the prisoner’s reaction to his environment during prison life. Interestingly though, up until this point in history no real data or studies had been complied on the post release effects after captivity. The repatriation of POWs and the new rehabilitation programs were designed to aid Armed Forces Service members to re-adapt back into to …show more content…
Recently many organized attempts have been made by researchers to document the immediate, mid-term, and long-term effects of the POW experience, especially since the end of WWII. The captivity POW experience is clearly distinctive in terms of the captive, the captor’s culture and beliefs, the amount of time in captivity coupled with the conditions of internment and countless other factors. However, the environment of POW captivity will combine a potent strain of consent physical hardship combined with never ending deprivation, as well as massive psychological stress and trauma which will could and will lead to some form of PTSD which may not show up for years after release. As history never lies there appears to be a uniformity in which the effects of captivity appear evenly across history from the beginning of time to the present day of how POWs are affected. Being interned in a POW camp is something that you cannot truly convey through words, but as Senator John McCain once said during a interview with the US News and World Report that “ Because in a way becoming a prisoner in North Vietnam was like being killed” (McCain, 2008). This simple sentence from McCain concisely summarizes his experience and the experience of thousand others who where held as a POW. One interesting fact is how the mind-set in the US concerning repatriation of veterans returning from the horrors of war and captivity has notably changed over the course of the last 100 years. Those

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