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Introduction

There is evidence in the research indicating that Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a widespread condition among veterans due to the peculiarities of the activities and duties that they are involved in. The disorder influences the behavioral, health, mental and social welfare of many veterans. PTSD does not only affect veterans, but also their families and friends. A lot of veterans who have participated in the wars, e.g. the war in Iraq, Afghanistan as well as many others, have been diagnosed with mental disorders including traumatic brain injury, (TBI) and PTSD. Other veterans fall into depression, become addicted to alcohol and pursue antisocial behavior. This paper provides summary of three articles that review PTSD and its effects on veterans. Also, it illustrates relevance of the research and its applications in the future research in this area.

Summary of the Articles

Article One

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The first article by Taft and others (2007) on “PTSD symptoms, physiological reactivity, alcohol problems, and aggression among the military veterans” describes relationship between PTSD and aggressive conduct in veterans. The authors argue that a lot of veterans express their suffering through anger and aggression. According to Taft et al. (2007), there is a direct association between aggressive behavior and PTSD among the veterans. Therefore, aggression becomes a reason why many veterans turn away from their families and acquire anti-social behaviors, including addiction to alcohol. Moreover, Taft et al. (2007) point out that apart from exercising negative influence on their social life, PTSD is associated with various mental and physical health problems.

Analysis and Application

The main objective of the research was to establish the relationship between PTSD symptoms and aggressive conduct among veterans. Results of this research are not biased because authors elaborate on the various clusters of PTSD and identify hyper arousal cluster as the one that causes the aggressive behavior among a lot of veterans. Taft et al. (2007) have reviewed the existing literature on the same topic in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of the association between aggression and hyperarousal cluster of PTSD.

1168 individuals took part in the research study. All of them were veterans who had participated in the Vietnam operations between August, 1964 and 1975 (Taft et al., 2007). However, any veteran with a medical condition or under medication at that time was excluded from the study. The study was conducted during a period of 42 months between the year 1989 and 1992.The participants were tested on PTSD symptoms, and symptoms of aggressive behavior mainly using interviews and questionnaires. It should be noted that the participants also benefited from the study as they underwent counseling to help them recover from this disorder. The main theory discussed in the paper is excitation-transfer theory. Rule and Nesdale that are cited in the article explain that the theory suggests that when a person is aroused physiologically, he or she becomes angry and exhibits aggressive behavior often (Taft et al., 2007).

Taft et al. (2007) provide various tables and figures, which are extremely useful in interpreting the results obtained from the conducted research. A good example is the table showing share of veterans who have exercised various behaviors that can be termed as aggressive. The article does not leave unanswered any questions. It explains in detail  obtained results and answers the main research question on whether or not PTSD leads to aggressive behavior among veterans. It further clarifies how aggression may lead to alcoholism and depression, which negatively affect the social lives of many veterans. The research is very significant as it points out that there is a need to further study the association between PTSD and aggression, to assist in future interventions, which will be aimed at treating hyperarousal symptoms and aggressive behavior among veterans (Casey et al., 2007). Forthcoming researc should provide a more extensive literature review to explain in detail the hyperarousal cluster of PTSD and how it leads to the development of aggression and alcoholism among veterans.

This article has uncovered a lot of aspects of human health that were not previously known. First, I have learnt that PTSD evolves through various clusters, in particular via hyper arousal cluster that has a direct association with aggression and addiction to alcohol among veterans. This information is useful to me, as it has helped me to understand PTSD better as well as its effects on the wellbeing of a person, such as development of aggressive behavior, depression, and alcoholism. This information is especially useful in the profession of medicine, as it will help in detecting PTSD early through expression of aggressive behaviors and alcoholism among veterans.

Article 2

The second article by Williamson and Mulhal (2009) entitled, “Invisible Wounds: Psychological and Neurological Injuries Confront a New Generation on of Veterans” mainly addresses the invisible wounds that most veterans suffer upon their return from wars. Among these invisible wounds are PTSD, depression, and neurological injuries. As Williamson and Mulhal (2009) explain, the number of cases being reported on PTSD and neurological injuries among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is increasing. The main problem with these invisible wounds is that they are difficult to detect and, hence, many veterans suffer from two or more of these disorders for a long period without any medical attention. PTSD and neurological injuries have become a major problem among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans mainly because the Department of Defense (DOD) uses a fruitless paperwork system to evaluate their personnel’s mental fitness. Williamson and Mulhal (2009) emphasize that PTSD and neurological injuries are treatable conditions if early detected, but because of lack of quality health care, many veterans are succumbing to their impacts.

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Analysis and Application

Williamson and Mulhal (2009) article has an objective of explaining the invisible wounds that many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from. However, results seem to be slightly biased by arguing that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affects many veterans without reviewing enough literature to support the argument. The paper is not a research paper and, hence, has no primary research study. Instead, it focuses on secondary sources to explain PTSD and TBI, as some of the invisible wounds that veterans suffer. The psychological theory covered in Williamson and Mulhal (2009) article is on psychological injuries and level of military exposure. According to this theory, the longer a person is exposed to traumatic experience, the higher the risk of developing PTSD.

Williamson and Mulhal (2009) article has several charts and graphs that have helped in explaining the PTSD and TBI trends among Iraq ad Afghanistan veterans. Taking for example the chart on the number of deployment and mental health problems clearly portrays that the larger the number of deployments, the higher the risk of developing mental health problems. Despite the paper being biased in a way, it does not leave any unanswered questions. It clearly explains PTSD, TBI, and other invisible psychological problems among veterans and all the factors that cause these problems. It further explains what can be done to treat these problems. However, the article would be more elaborate if it recommended the steps DOD should take to avoid such problems.

In future, a primary research should be extended to further applications. Veteran participants who have undergone multiple deployments should be considered in such a study to help prove the hypothesis that the increase in the number of deployments increases the risk of developing psychological health problems such as PTSD and TBI. The article is highly informative. I have learnt that veterans suffer from psychological problems such as PTSD and TBI, which might persist for a long period without being noticed. I have also learnt that many DOD’s lack the expertise and technology needed to screen such problems and this is the main reason why they are bbecoming widespread among veterans. This information is useful to me, as it has really enlightened me on the importance of early screening for mental invisible wounds such as PTSD. The information is also useful for DODs, as it will help them take appropriate steps in addressing their inefficiency in screening and providing medical care to veterans who suffer from these invisible psychological problems.

Article 3

The third article by Thanh and others (2006) on “PTSD among Vietnamese war veterans living in Vietnam,” focuses on PTSD and other psychological disorders among Vietnam veterans of the American-Vietnam war. According to Thanh et al. (2006), there have been various researchers on PTSD among veterans, but little research has been done specifically on Vietnam veterans. Dang et al. (2006) argue that Vietnam era has never ended because many Vietnam soldiers who participated in the war still suffer from various psychological problems such as PTSD.

The authors emphasize that PTSD is prevalent among many Vietnam veterans who participated in the American-Vietnam war. This war has affected veterans’ health more compared to other wars as it had lasted the longest. The war was also very dangerous due to its guerilla nature because it had no drawn boundaries. The authors point out that various researchers have tried to establish some factors related to PTSD such as pre-military, military experience and social support after the war.

Analysis and Application

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The paper has a clear objective of investigating PTSD among veterans who live in Vietnam. Thanh et al. (2006) have thoroughly reviewed existing literature on prevalence of PTSD among Vietnam veterans and the factors related to this disorder. The research study was composed of 169 Vietnamese veterans both males and females. Demographic survey, interviews, and questionnaires were used to collect primary data. The results indicate that PTSD is still prevalent among many Vietnamese veterans, but at a lower rate compared with American veterans. The theory on factors that lead to PTSD among veterans has been explained in detail in the paper. According to this theory, factors such as childhood antisocial behavior, combat exposure, and lack of support upon returning from wars lead to PTSD development among veterans.

Thanh et al. (2006) article has several tables used to present the results obtained. These tables are highly useful because they have simplified the results for the readers and, hence, easily understood. Considering its objective, the article has explained the prevalence of PTSD among Vietnamese veterans. However, it could be more elaborate, if it could include a section on the effects of PTSD and how they can be minimized among the affected veterans. Therefore, in future researches, which will be conducted on the same topic, researchers should aim at establishing the effects of PTSD on behavioral and health of veterans and their intervention measures. From this article, I have learnt that Vietnam veterans who participated in the American-Vietnam war still suffer from PTSD, but the rate is lower compared to that of American veterans. This information is useful, especially to Vietnamese DOD in planning future interventions for dealing with PTSD among its personnel.

Conclusion

From the three articles reviewed, it is clear that PTSD is an essential problem among veterans. Because of the exposure to traumatic situations, veterans are highly vulnerable to PTSD. PTSD is a disorder with various negative effects on the psychological, behavioral, and the whole wellbeing of a person. According to the first article reviewed, PTSD leads to aggression and other social problems, e.g. addiction to alcohol, among veterans. In the second article it is discussed that many veterans suffer from PTSD and other mental problems such as TBI inwardly, which has led to the increase in the number of cases of suicides and drug abuse among corresponding groups of population. The last article indicates that even through American-Vietnam war ended, PTSD is still prevalent among Vietnamese veterans who participated in that war

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