Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Soldiers


Post Traumatic Stress Disordered abbreviated as PTSD denotes an anxiety disorder that culminates from exposure to either one or more terrifying experiences that may have threat or caused grave physical harm. (Brunet A, Akerib V, Birmes P (2007). PTSD is severe and an ongoing emotional reaction to the extreme axis of emotional as well as psychological span, also referred to as psychological trauma. David Satcher et al. (1999) notes that the stressor factor may involve one’s death , a huge threat to someone else’s life, grave physical injury and even threat to physical as well as psychological stability while on the other end possibly leading to intense psychological defense.

David Satcher et al. (1999) note that in many circumstances the stressor factor can be coming from profound psychological as well emotional trauma despite cases or instances of actual physical harm. Here notes however that the two often have combined effect. PTSD is a clinical condition which is differentiable from traumatic stress. The kind has less intensity and duration as well as combat stress reaction which is by its nature, transitory.
David Satcher et al. (1999) list symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the following:

  • Recurrent thoughts of the initial traumatic experience
  • Hyper sensitivity and alertness in public
  • Anxiety as well as panic
  • Irritability

The other noted symptoms of Post traumatic stress disorder enlist extreme reactions to noises and other stimuli that are similar to the original trauma.

Research Focus and Objectives

PTSD is caused by psychological trauma for which possible provenances enlist encountering of childhood and/or adult form of abuse. These maybe sexual, emotional; or even physical, Additionally encounters with an event perceived to be life threatening and lethal such as extremes of physical assault, adult forms of sexual aggression, accidents, drug abuse and medical complications or the experiences of terror in particular occupation such as war for soldiers and even the exposure to instances of disaster for emergency service workers. It is the premise of the foregoing that the paper seeks to zero in on the effects o PTSD on returning solders from the Iraq war. The purpose of this paper is to explore the post traumatic stress disorder effects of the War in Iraq with special focus on the returning soldiers.

To approach the subject meaningfully post traumatic stress has to be viewed as a diagnosable condition in the object of fulfilling and obtaining a standardized approach to understanding how the condition impact on the victims. The common diagnostic instrumentation indicates that PTSD obtains when a person (1) has been subjected to a tremendous circumstances through experiencing, witnessing or being confronted with an event or a set events that involved the actual or threatened death or serious injury, or sometime even a threat to the physical stability of the person in focus and others. (2) The individual’s response entailed immense fear, helplessness or horror.

Research ideology and Methodology

To meaningfully frame the ideological, theoretical and conceptual platform for the research into the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disordered on Iraqi war returning soldiers it is imperative to consider the employ various research models that will enable the researcher to bring a considerable proportion amount of research detail into perspective. The research thrust will adopt the two salient research theoretical frameworks, the positivist and non-positivist research paradigms. (Barker E: 2003) contends that the positivist theory entails the economic, behavioral, cognitive, motivational/trait/attitudinal, and situational viewpoints. According to the scholar the viewpoints are treated as the conventional perceptions as they came before the crafting of the non-positivist model.

In the views of the scholar, the positivist model which is still the principal framework reinforces the superiority of human reason and stresses that there is one objective reality which can be unearthed by scientific means. As such this design renders the world as an ordered and coherent environment with a well defined past, present and future. The tenets of the theory are clearly underpinned on the suppositions of rationalism.

On the other end the contrasting non-positivist model holds the interpretive and post-modern viewpoints. Tenets of this model entail that the world be view as s composite social and cultural world contrary to the viewpoints of the positivist paradigm which hold the world in a rationality view that supposes a homogenous social fabric.

Leveraging on the theoretical and principal tenets of largely, the non-positivist research theory, this research exercise will provide new perspectives, findings and insights that will assist in the exploration of the dynamics that characterise the phenomena of Post Traumatic Stress Disordered the returning soldiers.

Quantitative Analysis versus Qualitative Analysis

James Neil outlines, “Qualitative research entails the analysis of data such words, pictures or objects gathered in the research drive. The gathered elements are evaluated in subjective and relative manner toward the making of conclusions and recommendations in tandem with research scope and objectives. On the other end quantitative research involves a scientific evaluation of numerical data.”

Qualitative research

The research project will be conducted mainly by qualitative research methods and accompany by analysing secondary data, like reports, journal and periodical releases, their official website, etc. The reasons for choosing qualitative research method instead of quantitative research method are due to four perspectives: 1) the nature of the research project; 2) the scale of the project; 3) the cost of carrying out the project and 4) time limitation.

Rubin and Babbie (2001:44) have emphasized the totally different nature of qualitative and quantitative research method. “Quantitative methods emphasize the production of precise and generalisable statistical findings and are generally more appropriate to nomothetic aims. When we want to verify whether a cause produces an effect in general, we are likely to use quantitative methods.

Qualitative research methods emphasize the depth of understanding associated with idiographic concerns. They attempt to tap the deeper meanings of particular human experiences and are intended to generate theoretically richer observations that are not easily reduced to numbers. ”

As a direct result of the objective of this research project, the researcher intends to have a deeper understanding of what specific forms of impact characterise the victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disordered among the returning soldiers. Besides, as this is just a small scale research project with very short period of time, so there will be not enough time and manpower to carry out quantitative research method, such as conducting survey to collect primary data for statistical analysis.

The research has also anticipated financial resources constraints that have inhibited the adoption of more capital intensive quantitative research thrust. On another end it is considerably too time-consuming to collect enough amounts of qualified questionnaires as well as to analyse large amounts of data drawn from received questionnaires.

In the perspectives of Stewart and Kamins (1993), the employ of data classifiable as secondary data has merits for a study endeavor as the student or researcher can readily asses the suitability of a data as it is obtained from the premise of its existence. This enables the researcher to save time. Before delving into secondary sources of data, an evaluation of potential secondary data will be essential as a way of screening resources to establish the relevant sources of information which will provide relevant data germane to fulfilling research scope and objectives.

The effects of Post Traumatic and Stress Disorders on Returning Iraqi Soldiers

Allan, N. Scwarts (2008) tells of the adverse PTSD effects of the war in Iraqi. The scholars zeroes in one the effects manifest on individual who serve as a representation of what many returning Iraqi veterans are suffering in form Post Traumatic Effects Disorders instantiated during the Iraqi war. The scholar cites that the soldier is representative of innumerable other returning Iraqi and not Only Iraqi but from others conflict zones such as Afghanistan, in fact the scenario of the individual ramifies across the globe for any soldiers that have been exposed to horrific war scenes.

The writers notes the focus individual of her probe case scenario reflects what many of the returning soldiers have suffered in form of concussions, brain injuries, loss of limbs and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Upon the fact that the soldier had a precarious background coming from a past and upbringing dented with abuse and poverty, the soldier experienced many instances of suicide bombings which and was also harmed by shrapnel as he happened to be close to the bombing scene in various circumstances. The writer the injuries caused by shrapnel were minor compared to the concussions, the brain damage he sustained and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifest in his behavior. On significant aspect to note is that owing to the brain injuries sustained and the protracted effects of PTSD the soldier lost memory of all that he studied at a graduate college. The diagnosis done by the army doctors illuminated that the soldier had all the information he leant at the graduate college but it was not possibly accessible to him because the neurological channels to the information storehouse were destroyed.

Other significant effects of the incidents experienced by the soldier in his tour of duty in the Iraqi war enlist the impact of brain damage aggravated by the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that culminates from being exposed to extreme stress reactions to some things that would prompt mild reactions from normal persons. One example is the effects of something like a passing ambulance with lights and sirens running, such scenes transmit the soldier back to the horrific scenes experienced in war zones and excursions. The writer reports that this has taken its toll on the soldier despite protracted medication efforts and other efforts to reduce his depression as well as his anxieties. Despite all the efforts the soldier still gets to feel as though he is in the war zone when the stimuli such as the example given are available.

The writer met the ma as he had been assigned a dog to help make him feel safe when he is away from home and when he has to travel around the city in which he resides. The dog is also particularly trained to help reduce his anxiety and panic especially y when he is in public and quiet vulnerable to feeling hyper sensitive to real or imaginary dangers. The dog is trained to position itself where it can block people coming down the street from getting up from behind. The dog does not bark or act aggressively to people but has been specially trained to use its body to barricade any strangers from coming dangerously close the Post Traumatic Stress disorders affected soldier.

Trauma can possibly culminate from events of lesser severity than those experienced by the featured in Iraqi soldier case and various others. Mason JW, Giller EL, Kosten TR, Harkness L (1988) notes that Trauma symptoms can be placed on a continuum up from the mild traumatic reactions to the actaul incident all the way up to fully blown PTSD. This relates to the mainstream notions about Post traumatic Stress disorder that it results from serious situation significantly overwhelming and life threatening.

Yehuda R (2002) states, ” Its is known that stress as well as trauma accumulate over the life time of a person such that when a tragedy or disastrous situation obtains, the entirety of all accumulated impact laves the individual with Post traumatic Stress disorder. The scholar expresses many returning Iraqi soldiers need special kind of help and need to stay with supportive people who will learn how to cope with the PTSD effects such as sleeplessness, getting angry too easily, relapsing into flashbacks and forgetting to perform common or mundane tasks.

The associated Press Report that one in 8 returning soldiers from the Iraqi war suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorders but less that a half of those with the related problems seek professional help. This is a grim statistics which depicts the scale of the impact of the Iraqi war on America and its citizens. This has been used to further leverage the calls for a full withdrawal of the America Army from Iraqi.

Dr. Charles W. Hoge who serves the Walter of the Reed Army Institute of Research indicates that , “A the apex of the most important aspects on what can be done to help the army service personnel who have been deployed and involved in various direct combat is to assist them comprehend that the earlier that they obtain assistance when they need it, the better off their situations will be. (Associated Press)

The results reported in the Associated Press are obtained from the army surveys of the mental health of the troops involved in Iraqi which showed that about one in every eight soldier has the post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. The outcomes of the survey also showed that among the affected soldiers only a half proportion of their totality sought professional help to cope with the effects. According to the report most of the soldier fear being stigmatized and/or jeopardizing their careers they perceive.

In war terminologies and medication parlance the post traumatic stress disorder was once called shell shock or combat fatigue. This can develop when an individual has been subjected to horrific or terrific experiences which will later be accessed via aspects such as flash backs, nightmares and dispositions characterised by feelings of detachment, irritability as well problem concentrating as sleeplessness. “As I am not an alarmist as such, I nonetheless perceive that this is a critical situation. The situation may be worse owing to the nature of the war,” he expressed, citing extended tours of duty and the shift on mission from liberation to combat ad occupation” (Associated Press)

Yehuda R (2002) commenting of the gravity of the manner and scale of the problems DR Mathew J. Friedman. The executive leader at the organ of Veterans Affairs National Center for Post-Traumatic stress Disorder states that is imperative to make the results of the impact study available while there are still soldiers in Iraqi and Afghanistan although he cites that it may too early to establish the full extent of the mental problems plaguing the returning soldiers. I’m not an alarmist, but I think this is a serious problem. It may be worse just because of the nature of the war,” he said, expressing concerns about the extended tours of duty and the change of mission from liberation to occupation.

In a survey conducted to establish the extent of the mental harm related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms of salient depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder were reported at about 16 to 17 percentage point of the soldiers who were in the combat zone Iraq; 11 percentage point of those who were in Afghanistan. The other 9 percent was made up those who were questioned before they left. Reports that the variances recorded were greatest for post-traumatic stress disorder with about twice the proportion of those with the post traumatic stress disorder after Iraq (12 percentage point) than that recorded for Afghanistan (6 percent). The recorded rate for the survey conducted before the deployment was five percent which is a figure similar to the general U.S population.

The huge challenge in the quest to address the predicament of the psychological and mental impact of the wars experiences on the part of the soldiers it to foster awareness on the part of the affected so that they may come forth to access professional assistance. The studies and surveys conducted on the problem indicate there too few affected soldiers who seek professional help and as such these remain unreachable which further aggravates their situation.

In the latest survey only 38 percent to about 40 percent of the affected soldiers showed mental health disorders were keen to get professional while 23 to 40 percent indicated visiting someone for some kind of help. It seems the resonating concern among the affected soldiers is their disposition to waters their peers where in the fear being stigmatises and that they may be viewed and bad light by their peers. Measures must put in place to foster awareness and the realisations of the need of help on the part of soldiers. Obtained studies and survey data must used to formulate feasible strategies of dealing with the mental and psychological effects of war on the part of soldiers as these war phenomena is still ongoing and more casualties of the post traumatic stress disorder are still expected.


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