Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

For many in the military, post-traumatic stress disorder is an unfortunate reality. A study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that nearly 20 percent of those returning from the Iraqi War suffer from this condition or other mental health disturbances. For the Gulf War, the rate of soldiers coming back with these conditions was just half of that. One conclusion was that perhaps the nature of the conflict and the increased risk of being redeployed were making the Iraq War more taxing for these men and women. High amounts of stress and hyper vigilance were considered normal for soldiers serving in Iraq.
Those with post-traumatic stress disorder, whoever they may be, cannot selectively release emotions. For example, letting out love would also mean letting out many other feelings, such as fear and sadness. Therefore, a person with this disorder will stop interacting with the world around them. They will basically withdraw and try to escape. They also frequently feel guilt and shame foe being alive or experiencing pleasure. For these peoples’ partners it can be quite confusing and painful. A highly anticipated reunion may crumble once he or she returns, which can take a significant toll on their relationship. So for our soldiers and their partners it becomes a cruel irony that after a long battle, their plight continues when they do finally return home. For these stories to have happy endings that they deserve, both must make their relationship a priority and bring a strong measure of understanding and compassion to the effort.

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