Recent books and movies have highlighted the impact of war trauma for veterans of the Vietnam war and the Persian Gulf war, but the traumas faced by veterans of World War II and the Korean conflict have been publicly acknowledged in the media less often and less clearly. For most World War II veterans, those memories still can be upsetting, although only occasionally and for brief periods, more than 50 years later. This Fact Sheet provides information to help veterans of World War II and other wars, their families some of whom are second and third generation veterans themselvesand concerned members of the public to begin to answer the following important questions about war trauma and PTSD with older veterans:
These difficulties included day to day combat, little or no food for days at a time, health issues that arose from the poor conditions, and having to deal with the mental strain of the war. The main problem for returning soldiers is what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder refers to an anxiety disorder that some people get after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.
To give further detail of the disorder the APA also classifies an anxiety disorder as a mental illness in which the sufferer feels an exceptional level of fear and apprehension. The APA also states that any event that causes a person to experience intense fear, horror, or helplessness can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The five reexperiencing symptoms are having intrusive memories of the event, having recurrent dreams of the event, times when the person believes the event is happening again, intense distress when reminded of the event, and intense reactions when reminded of the events.
The hyperarousal symptoms are difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance or feeling on the edge, and exaggerated startle response or overreacting to things like loud noises.
The term post-traumatic stress disorder was not yet identified or acknowledge at the time of the war, nor was it recognized as a serious mental illness while any of the World War I veterans were still alive. Do to this fact; many of the statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder pertaining to World War I are either based on the little documented cases or from statistics of more modern wars.
With this being said, the numbers about post-traumatic stress disorders of World War I are not nor will they ever be one hundred percent accurate. Although the official term did not exist, the soldiers still experienced the effects of the disorder.
Throughout the years the same illness has had many different names. Due to this condition being poorly understood many soldiers who did suffer from it were never diagnosed or properly treated.
Now that historians and the medical profession has looked back at the suicide rates at the time or the war and the years after, it has been determined that a large number of them could have been prevented, if post-traumatic stress disorder had been published and accepted by society.
Many soldiers who fought in World War I did not receive the treatment they so badly needed mainly due to the officers in charge of the military. The leaders said that if shell shock became an honorable route to escape from the combat of the war, too many soldiers would use it as an excuse and they would no longer have soldiers to fight.
Due to this fear the leaders denied to honor very few of the soldiers request to leave the front because of shell shock. Besides the leaders not allowing the soldiers themselves were reluctant to pursue the issue.
This is because there were reports that the governments of the involved nations were going to deny pensions to victims of shell shock because no such condition existed. Since there is no statistics kept on post-traumatic stress disorder historians have been forced to used more modern statistics and apply the number to give a relative idea of the number affected in World War I.
Using this method it can be assumed that roughly eighteen to thirty percent of the soldiers experienced post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their life.
These numbers vary greatly due to the statistics kept on the Vietnam War. Due to this wide time span it is hard to tell exactly how many of the World War I would have still been living to give an accurate number.
Another great factor, which raises the estimated number of victims, is that the soldiers in World War I spent much more time on the front lines and experienced a completely different and more graphic war than any other soldier after them.
Although the soldiers of World War I have been recognized for their troubles and harsh conditions, as well as they should have, they have not received the recognition of the ongoing battle they faced upon returning home. Today it is accepted and understandable for soldiers to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but back then it was looked down upon for soldiers to have this condition.
Due to this many of these soldiers had to face problems on their own and in some cases the stress became too much for the soldiers.
Choose Type of service.The phrase, "war is hell," only begins to describe how terrifying and shocking that war was for hundreds of thousands of American military personnel. For most World War II veterans, those memories still can be upsetting, although only occasionally and for brief periods, more than 50 years later.
May 30, · "Let There Be Light," a short film by director and veteran John Huston, could hold valuable information to help today's veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Apr 16, · Arthur "Dutch" Schultz (), who served as a paratrooper in some of the fiercest battles in the European Theater during World War II, fought .
Audie Leon Murphy (20 June – 28 May ) was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II.
He received every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. Medical personnel were puzzled that although over one million soldiers were screened out for psychological reasons, there continued to be staggering numbers of psychiatric casualties in war.
In fact, even soldiers who had fought bravely on previous tours were being affected (Scott, ). Watch video · PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, leapt to the public’s consciousness when the American Psychiatric Association added the health issue to .