Post Traumatic Stress Disorder On War Veterans Research Papers Examples
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Veterans, Bad Memories, Family, Psychology, People, War, Experience, Health
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental condition after experiencing (or witnessing) a mentally scarring event or ordeal. It is developed after a terrifying ordeal that involved either physical harm or the threat of receiving physical harm (Galovski & Lyons, 2003). People suffering from this condition are often troubled by flashbacks. The symptoms for this mental disorder include re-experiencing the traumatic event, emotional numbing, avoidance and hyper arousal. PTSD makes it difficult for people to live a normal life because it makes them anxious and thus affect their behaviors. PTSD is also marked with biological changes that accompany its psychological effects. It is commonly experienced in the forms of flashbacks and nightmares. Some of the memories involved in the traumatic experience come back when the person least expects them. Some people results to avoiding situations, people or objects that may serve as reminder of their horrifying incident (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).
PTSD alone is a complex mental condition and affects the war veterans in various ways. There many symptoms of the disorders and it affect the military veterans in differing degree. In some cases, for example, if the war veteran encountered countless instances wherein his life was placed in great danger, the most common response would have to be the fight-or-flight response. Veterans are also bombarded with flashbacks of their experience in the field (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).The effect of the constant recall is not only mentally straining but also affecting them emotionally and physically. According to Galovski & Lyons (2003), the flashbacks results to strong feelings of anger, rage, guilt and sadness. There are also times wherein the veterans feel isolated. Some times when their emotions get the better of them they can display aggressive behaviors such as shouting and breaking things in sight. They fear losing control, panic attacks and social avoidance.
PTSD and Mental/ Psychological Health
In terms of mental health, PTSD affects war veterans in many ways. One is the constant pre-occupation for their safety. Since they are exposed to an environment that they have to always be vigilant and cautious, they may feel paranoid about their environment. They feel that everyone is out to get them. They do not feel comfortable in the presence of a large crowd. They may experience having a difficult time trusting people (Galovski & Lyons, 2003). Some veterans got so used to the feeling of killing other people that they feel a strong sense of self-guilt. The feeling of guilt does not only arise from their experience in killing the enemies but also because some of their friends did not survive. Galovski & Lyons (2003) also mentioned that veterans may feel guilty that other people had to die just for them to live. Some of the flashbacks experienced by war veterans include screaming people and blood. Sometimes they fear that other people are going to kill them to seek revenge for what they did.
PTSD and Physical Health
On the other hand, the long-term physical effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disoders include fainting, head and stomach aches. They are also more prone into engaging in risky behaviors including substance abuse. Some veterans have the tendency to be dependent on drugs and alcohol because it helps them drown the flashbacks and uncontrollable emotions (Lee, 2012). Lee (2012) also mentioned that through time there is an observable decrease in terms of overall health for people diagnosed with PTSD. In the study by Lee, it showed that veterans of both sexes from Iraq and Afghanistan had increased risk in cardiovascular health conditions including hypertension, obesity and tobacco dependence. The dependence in drugs or alcohol result from the veterans desires to escape the strong emotions of fear, guilt and sadness they keep feeling (Lee, 2012).
Effects of PTSD to Families and Communities
In addition, PTSD does not only affect veterans in an individual level but it also affects their family dynamics. Galovski & Lyons (2003), shared that in a 1978 data from the President’s Commission on Mental Health Report revealed that 38% of the marriages involving Vietnam veterans ended within the six months of their return from Vietnam. It is stated that PTSD makes living with war veterans at times difficult. Some families can not handle living with someone who is easily agitated and surprised. The researches on Vietnam War veterans showed that the veterans are involved in more marital problems and even family violence. These cause their respective spouses to be under a lot of distress (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).. Their children are even at risk of developing behavioral problems. The bottom line of the family problems experienced by people with PTSD boils down to their inability to function properly due to their emotional baggage. War veterans are also prone to displaying violent behaviors. It may prompt them to physically (and emotionally) hurt their families without them even knowing (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).
Family members may feel extremely confused and hurt by the reactions and behaviors displayed by the war veteran. PTSD caused their family member to appear like a different person. Some other impacts of PTSD to families are avoidance, depression, health problems and guilt and anger. PTSD greatly affects the parenting capabilities of a veteran. Galovski & Lyons (2003) mentioned a clinical report conducted by Haley in 1984 wherein it described the experience of child-rearin as a delayed stressor on the part of military veterans. Haley mentioned that it may result from the inability of veterans to identify the age-appropriate aggressiveness displayed by toddler. War veterans may display the unwillingness to interact with their own child or overreaction and overprotectiveness (Galovski & Lyons, 2003). Some the parenting styles displayed by war veterans are characterized as controlling, demanding and overprotective.
Some children feel that the parenting style of their parent is too controlling and prompts them to rebel. In addition, due to the tendency of their parents to be aggressive they are also exposed to an aggrieve family dynamic. They may reason out that shouting and violence is a normal practice because their parents do it in a normal occurrence (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).
There are many available interventions that aim to address the problems caused by PTSD both on the part of the person and the caregivers. Some of the therapies include pro-longed exposure approaches and cognitive approaches. The goal includes making veterans ease to their new life outside of the battle field. In addition, most of the treatments also want to address the negative family effect of PTSD (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).
Galovski & Lyons (2003) shared that awareness is one of the most important things to achieve in handling PTSD cases. Family members should be aware of the veteran’s condition so that they will not be surprised by the changes in mood, behaviors and emotions. When the family members are aware they can also protect themselves from the negative impact of the mental condition. It promotes open communication within the family. This is relatively important because war veterans may have the tendency to have problems trusting anyone. Communication on the part of the family allows them to trust again and feel at ease on their environment. It is important for the two parties involved to cooperate. The families must display extreme understanding and patience for the war veteran. They should understand the gravity of their experience and how it affected them (Galovski & Lyons, 2003).
In conclusion, PTSD is a difficult mental condition because it affects people in different levels. Some people may be cured of PTSD easily but some may even take a lifetime to address the problem. Because of the nature of their jobs, military people are undoubtedly more vulnerable to suffering Post traumatic Stress Disorder after their war duties. They were under great amount of danger and they witnessed death and were even close to losing their own lives. Once they return to a more peaceful and stable environment they are overwhelmed by the feeling and change. They do not know what to expect.
Gavolski T & Lyons J (2003). Psychological sequelae of combat violence: A review of the impact of PTSD on the veteran’s family and possible interventions. Pergamon
Lee E (2012). Complex Contribution of Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to Veteran Suicide: Facing an Increasing Challenge. Perspective in Psychiatric Care