Good Essay About The Major Causes Of PTSD For American Soldiers
who Served in the Vietnam War
The occurrence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be observed after one has been through a distressing incident. Such terrible incident can strongly affect an individual so that he manifests behaviour that is not normally observed before the traumatic event. The manifestation may range from mild to severe, much depends largely on the longevity and intensity of the event, as well as the individual’s reaction and support one got after the incident. There are major causes of PTSD, and this paper aims to address the causes faced by Vietnam War Soldiers who were diagnosed with the disorder.
Direct Exposure to War zones
One of the observed causes of PTSD among Vietnam War veterans is the direct exposure to War Zones. The Vietnam War, being the longest war in the history of America has deployed a large number of soldiers and a greater number of losses, while it received less support from the citizenry ( Koenan et al). In a study conducted on the risk factors of PTSD, a survey was taken from the troops in 1984 in order to study “the health and well-being of American Legion” (Koenan et al). The research on the association of the severity of war exposure and PTSD revealed that “combat exposure was the strongest predictor” of the disorder (Koenam et al). The fact that there is a correlation of combat exposure and PTSD calls for the need for further studies on military personnel after surviving the traumatic experience (Koena et al). The direct exposure to war zones is determined by the soldier’s lower educational attainment, lesser scores on the AFQT, and age; that is enlisted men lower that being a sergeant increases the chance of being exposed to enemies (Dohrenwend, et al).
The American Legion is the largest veteran’s organizations in the country.
with 2.8 million members. Between 850,000 and 900,000 served during
the Vietnam War era, of whom approximately 40% served in the Vietnam
theatre of operations. A random sample of 12,000 male members of the
American Legion was drawn from post rosters (Koena et al).
Vulnerability and Exacerbating Factors
Vulnerability and Exacerbating factors also contributed to the occurrence of PTSD on Vietnam War Veterans. The veterans became weak and would later show symptoms of stress as a result of the duration of the war, deployment patterns, war tactics of the enemies, the supposed absence of purpose, and the apparent unpopularity of the war, most often leads contemptuous treatment of the veterans (Kovach). It was observed that the homecoming of the veterans is one of the contributors of post-military stress. The homecoming stress is believed to be caused by an already existing PTSD symptom (Kovach). Researchers claimed that the “maladaptive defense behaviors related to male ego development resulted from PTSD” (Kovach). According to research, the exposure to unkind environment also added to the factors that caused PTSD including an abusive environment, perceived danger, and massacres (Price).
Vietnam theatre veterans had not achieved the educational levels or employment
Status of their Vietnam era or civilian contemporaries and had a higher rates of
substance abuse, trouble with law, illness, and stress-related symptoms (Kovach).
Race is also another factor that is believed to contribute to the occurrence of PTSD in war veterans. The frequency rate of PTSD and PSTD-like symptoms have been observed to be greater among Black Americans compared to the white majority veterans years after the war in Vietnam ( Dohrenwend et al). A nationwide research also revealed that there is even a “higher rates in Hispanics than in Black Vietnam War Veterans” (Dohrenwend et al). Though the accuracy of the report was questioned, still the truth serves that the racial and ethnic differences played an important role in the “differential exposure to war-zone stressors” (Dohrenwend et al). The two minorities [Black Americans and Hispanics], are likely that the “majority of the whites to develop incidents of PTSD” (Dohrenwend et al).
In 1983, there was a mandate from the Congress to address the problem on the prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, including other psychological problems encountered by many returning Vietnam Veterans (Price). The National Vietnam Veteran’s Readjustment Study was initiated in response to that order. The NVVRS was tasked to acquire accurate data of post-war psychological problems to be able to help meet the needs of the veterans (Price). The major findings of the NVVRS confirmed that most of the war veterans “appeared to have successfully readjusted to post-war life” (Price). There are however, those who needed to cope with the “psychological problems and experiencing a wide range of life-adjustment problems”.
With the prevalence of posttraumatic disorder among war veterans, the government and other concerned organizations should work hand and hand to address the problems. The works and researches done by the NVVRS is one that can be used to further develop measure to avoid or reduce the case of PTSD among individuals especially of the war veterans.
Dohrenwend, B., Turner, B., Turse, N., Lewis-Fernandez, R., Yager, T., War-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Black, Hispanic, and Majority White Vietnam Veterans: The Roles of Exposure and Vulnerability. Retrived from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Koenen, K., Stellman, S., Dohrenwend, B., Sommer, J., Stellman, J. The Consistency of Combat Exposure Reporting and Course of PTSD in Vietnam War Veterans.
Kovach, T. Vietnam in the Later Family: Self-reported Symptoms and Interpretations of Posttraumatic Stress. Retrieved from quod.lob.umich.edu
Price, J., Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. PTSD: National Center for PTSD