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traumatic brain injury
vietnam war
sleepless nights
Why Ptsd Is So Widespread With Oif And Oef Veterans
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Why Ptsd is So Widespread With Oif And Oef Veterans

There is a staggering amount of OIF and OEF veterans returning from combat zones without physical wounds; seemingly whole on the outside appearance, but what lurks within is all but a whole person. For those of us that have firsthand knowledge of why PTSD is affecting more than 76,000 veterans; there is a sense of concern because without going to the VA for diagnosis means the numbers are actually higher.

Avoidable Tragedies

Statistics from the Vietnam War show that more than double the amount of American casualties committed suicide within five years of returning from the War. Why is it that only now PTSD is being addressed? Did it really take two decades to conclude PTSD was destroying Vietnam Veterans because of the research done in present day? It's technically three decades, but PTSD started it's common place in the late 80s. But one positive aspect we can be thankful for is the dedication of the VA and its outstanding employees and volunteers that have helped save hundreds of thousands of lives through physical and mental therapy.

I know first hand about the reasons for PTSD being so common and one of the biggest contributors is the lack of an enemy to fight when attacked by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). There's a life threatening event without the ability to defend those around you. It keeps all of the major emotions pent up with no way to release. Another major issue is the inability to fire without approval; even when shot at with indirect fire. We were shot at everyday for six months with mortar fire, and I believe this is the main reason I was diagnosed with PTSD. Sleepless nights, headaches, lack of memory, which is from a Traumatic Brain Injury, but the thousands of troops suffering from PTSD can be traced to being under fire but unable to have authority to fire back because of civilians or the ever-present IED attacks.

Positive Action

Since the statistics are so high for PTSD; the numbers should compiled into a database for the purpose of determining how it will impact the present veterans and their families. Children in families with this unseen enemy will affect a certain percentage of "tomorrow's" well being, but it is a confidence builder to know that laws are being passed and the issues concerning PTSD are being addressed and therapy details being developed to hopefully ensure an active reduction in this epidemic. An offensive technique can be developed to indoctrinate soldiers before leaving for deployment to combat zones to help thwart this illness before it has the chance to take hold. It may be a few years away and there's no vaccine to administer by injection, but a series of awareness sessions as part of a soldier's pre-deployment protocols is certainly an action the military can take to help it's soldiers' well-being stay intact once they return as veterans.


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