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A new book reveals long-term psychological trauma experienced by forces in the Gulf and Balkan encounters and the deadly consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder. Written by a University of New Hampshire researcher and a Vietnam-era disabled veteran, the new book “War Trauma and its Aftermath: An International Perspective on the Balkan and Gulf Wars”, details how these wars expanded the definition of PTSD.
Laurence French, senior research associate and UNH Justiceworks and co-author Lidija Nikolic-Novakovic, a Balkan War survivor, expand the definition of PTSD past the people who see combat to include a wider range of military forces as well as civilians. There is no cure for PTSD and symptoms include depression, panic and anxiety disorders as well as brief psychotic breaks.
While the term PTSD was first used to explain psychological impact on Vietnam veterans, the condition became more prevalent after the Gulf wars where use of reserve and National Guard personnel along with the largest contingent of female military personnel was unprecedented. Many of the soldiers were unprepared psychologically for the brutal combat experience. Rapid deployment, sexual assaults and suicides surfaced as untreated problems within the coalition force.
For personnel not in direct combat during the Gulf wars, these people are still targeted by the enemy through roadside bombs or the unpredictable suicide bomber. Unlike the burst of combat, this type of never ending anticipation eats at the psyche and causes deep damage.
“It is devastating, and they have to go through an adjustment, but it isn’t as devastating as the subtle process of never knowing what is going to happen. They never divorce themselves from that psychologically. That is a new dimension of post-traumatic stress disorder,” stated French.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of New Hampshire
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