Implications of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for War Veterans

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Implications of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for War Veterans War is a complex concept that is increasingly difficult to understand, particularly in an age that allows for live images of combat to be beamed around the world. Many war films depict the brutalities of war and affects war has on participants, but it seems that these representations merely skim the surface. The 20th century is an era that saw a significant amount of military action: World Wars I and II, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War - millions of men fought, some survived and live among us today. Unfortunately, the war experience for many veterans is traumatizing and as a result, many have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This…show more content…
In order to create a memory, the brain releases chemicals "that etch these events into its memory bank with special codes" (4). However, when one experiences a traumatic event, the memory becomes vivid because the context surrounding the event is so significantly different from anything the victim has ever experienced before. For instance, many Americans may find that they can remember what they ate for breakfast on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, but cannot recall what they ate on any other Tuesday. It seems, then, that during a traumatic event, our senses are heightened - this may be due to the fight-or-flight response that readies us for action. Since we sense (or know) that something is amiss, our brain releases more chemicals that allow us to be more alert; this in turn may be the mechanism that helps us to remember traumatic events so well. Although many of us may have vivid recollections of 9/11, we may not necessarily feel traumatized by it - unless, of course, it directly affected our life in some way. Veterans, however, are often completely traumatized by war because it is such an unnatural (though increasingly common) experience. The majority of men thrust into combat are in their 20s and at this time are still developing as a person. Consequently, when they are then plucked from their homes and placed in an extremely foreign

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