How Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affect soldier’s today

Master's ・Geography ・MLA

Some people develop anxiety disorders as a result of being threatened with death or serious injury, as well as experiencing or witnessing a terrifying incident (NIMH, 2013). A frightening ordeal that threatens or causes physical harm can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (MedlinePlus, 2009). Symptoms involve avoiding triggering circumstances and emotions, feeling on edge, angry outbursts, worry or extreme remorse, emotional numbness, bad dreams, and unwelcome and vivid memories of the original incident, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (2013). Other accounts indicate traumatized soldiers with PTSD experiencing frequent nightmares, shocks, and exhaustion (Rajkowski, 2009). Jumpiness are sleep problems are some symptoms of the distress gotten from traumatic incidents, such as earthquakes, flood, bombings, plane crashes, train wrecks, child abuse, kidnap, captivity, torture, rape, mugging, and seeing a family member, stranger or friend threatened or harmed(MedlinePlus, 2009). Feared by society in general and rejected by their military peers, were soldiers diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD (NIMH, 2013). Sometimes discharged from combat zones these sufferers were usually labeled as “weak”. NIMH (2013), further states that experiences such as major and even sudden emotional losses, abuse, assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, are inclusive in affecting soldiers and other sufferers, diagnosed with PTSD. Victims are plagued mentally, physically, emotionally and socially by PTSD. This thesis will be exposing its effects, through three different perspectives, namely: humanist studies, natural science, and social science. These different approaches shall be merged with related experiences of PTSD victims and postulations of psychic scholars and experts.

Thesis statement: How Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affect soldier’s today.

The Humanist Point of View

U.S college youths who lived normal lives before abandoning their academic pursuits for active military service and later diagnosed with PTSD are embarrassed at their selves about its psychic dominion (Hochgesang, Lawyer, War, Media & War, 1999). Psychological factors, genetic or biological traits are included as important factors for considering the effects of PTSD (NIMH, 2013). Experts report that many victims are mentally wounded from either falls or explosive blast (Rossignol, 2010), while other’s experience is from death up close, seeing friends killed, or being shot at (MedlinePlus, 2009).The loss of control over anger, panic, horrifying memories, fear and fatigue (Junger, 2015; Rajkowski, 2009), at the hands of PTSD is a challenge to the affected soldiers and veterans. Others have reported sleep difficulties, sense of foreshortened future, concentration problem and distress (Gates et al., 2012; NIH, 2016). Experiences, feelings, smells, sounds, or images such as being in a place that looks like where the trauma took place, car back firing, and door slamming are constituted flashbacks of these sufferers (MedlinePlus, 2009). Physiological reactions like rapid heart rate accompany re-experienced symptoms. While asleep, it has been reported by loved ones and spouses, that they are continuously restless. Traumatic episodes in theme or content are reflected in disturbing and vivid dreams of these sufferers (Rossignol, 2010). Although it is chronic amongst many symptoms occasionally show appearances between the first and third month of the original incident (MedlinePlus, 2009). In an attempt to calm their selves, some may need to take a drink, cigarette, or watch television. Others stay awake all night or go about their property at sleeping hours in check of security. Although more with the males, soldiers have a high tendency to abuse alcohol and substances. They also have issues of stomachache and chronic pain (Rossignol, 2010).

The Natural Scientist’s Point of View

While it is natural that the psychic state of these soldiers be traumatized by war events (Hochgesang et al., 1999), their lack of resilience due to the operations of PTSD upon them, is an issue worth deliberation. In many cases various degrees of the symptoms changes the structure and function of the brain (NIMH, 2013). Hughes (2012) reports that in the brains of most victims studied, both hippocampus –responsible for memory and the anterior cingulate cortex – responsible for reasoning and decision making, have shrunk from extreme sensitivity to stress and their link has gone weak. One soldier complains that he has to exert himself daily to retain his sanity and strength. (Hochgesang et al., 1999). Movements such as a child’s toy, exhaust backfire from cars, fireworks or unexpected noise give sufferers heightened startle response - an indication of an overactive central nervous system (Rossignol, 2010). Mimicking symptoms of myocardial infarction or angina, they complain of, difficulty breathing, profuse sweating, chest pain and rapid heartbeat (Rossignol, 2010). In the brain there is the amygdala known for its role in memory, learning and emotion. In the amygdala there is a specific type of cell from which the process labeled” fear extinction” appears to depend (NIMH, 2013). If these amygdala cells are enhanced then effective treatments may improve such that the process of diminishing fear memories might become more efficient, when prior to talk therapies, such enhancers are administered (NIMH, 2013). Knowledge of murder, injury, shootings and attacks are traumatic experiences considered psychologically substantial, in reports of military personnel. Sexual assault is a major toxic trauma that is most apparent, particularly in female soldiers (Rossignol, 2010). However, after animal studies indicated reactivation of an emotional memory, certain persons with behavioral manipulation were selected and their memory of learned fear blocked by scientists of the Natinal Institue of Health (NIH). It happened that these selected persons did not express fear of past memories beginning from the year 2009 when the experiment took place, into the year 2010 - one year (NIMH, 2013). Medical researchers now know drugs that inhibit or facilitate fear; the location of fear in the brain and ways to turn it off and on (MedlinePlus, 2009). Multiple traumatic experiences can be caused from being exposed to combat in a war zone, leading some of these soldiers to get startled excessively anxious or agitated (Rossignol, 2010). The distress is expected to abate over time but with PTSD it does not. Instead, it lingers for months. Conveniently, as in a day dream, they get similar physiological responses when caught up in memories; often prompted by reminiscences of taste, sound and smell (Rossignol, 2010).

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The Social Scientist’s Point of View

MedlinePlus (2009), reports that PTSD sufferers may become emotionally numb to people with whom they used to be close. Anhedonia, aggression, irritation and easy startle are other symptoms, coupled with a reluctance to attend gatherings that might trigger past memories (to people with whom they used to be close (MedlinePlus, 2009). The eccentric and abnormal condition of soldiers with PTSD is affecting their relationship with family members and friends. On return from military service these soldiers and veterans find it hard to mingle and chat easily with someone (Hochgesang et al., 1999). They resist memory triggers like veteran support groups and decline invitations to even family gatherings where there is the likelihood of being interviewed or conversed about military service; worst still, watch news coverage of war (Rossignol, 2010). This avoidance is often misunderstood by family members and friends. At failure to readjust to normal life they isolate their selves, they are depressed and may abuse drugs. Another soldier is occasionally dismayed to rise up from dreams of jungle life (Hochgesang et al., 1999). This sense of detachment from others is the reason behind their inability to start and maintain close relationships. Suicide contemplation come from a sensation that the future holds little interest for them; contributes to under-detection of the disorder and deters them from seeking help (Rossignol, 2010).

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From these three points of view the reader can observe the effects PTSD is having on soldiers today. However, they can be helped or rather the grip of PTSD on them can be loosened. These soldiers should be placed on a readjustment and rehabilitation plan. The public should be properly informed about PTSD. Families should engage in therapy classes to better relate with victims. NIMH (2013), states that if one approach to effective treatment does not work on a sufferer, trying another approach may be necessary. Medications such as paroxetine (paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), cognitive behavior therapy, and exposure therapy are available effective treatments (NIMH, 2013). Again from NIMH (2013), is a postulation that telephone assisted therapy, self-help therapy, and internet-based therapy are other creative approaches to making behavioral and cognitive therapies, widely available.

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Gates, M. A., & Holowka, D. W., & Vasterling, J. J., & Keane, T. M., & Marx, B. P. (2012). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans and Military Personnel: Epidemiology, Screening, and Case Recognition. Psychological Services. 9(4), 361-382. Retrieved on April 19, 2017 from

Hochgesang, J. & Lawyer, T. & War, T.S. & War, P.M. (1999).The Psychological Effects of the Vietnam War. Edge, Ethics of Development in a Global Environment. Retrieved on April 21, 2017 from

Hughes, V. (2012). Stress: The Roots of Resilience. Nature, International Weekly Journal of Science. 490(7419), 165-167. Retrieved on April 19, 2017 from

Junger Sebastian. (2015). How PTSD became a Problem Far Beyond the Battle Field. Vanity Fair. Hive, from the Magazine. Retrieved on April 21, 2017 from.

MedlinePlus. (2009). PTSD: A Growing Epidemic. Past Issues/winter 2009 table of contents. Medline-plus/subscribe/magazine information. 4, 10-14. Retrieved on April 24, 2017 from

NIH. (2016). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved on April 20, 2017 from

NIMH, (2013).NIH Fact sheets: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH).NIH research portfolio online reporting tools(Report). Retrieved on April 24, 2017 from http://www.nimh.nihgov .

Rajkowski, J. (2009). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Returning Iraq and Afghanistan Soldiers. A Bibliography Plan. Retrieved on April 19, 2017 from

Rossignol, M. (2010). Recognizing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in military veterans. 5(2). Retrieved on April 23, 2017 from

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