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Retirement May Spur PTSD in Vietnam Vets

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by batgirl, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. batgirl

    batgirl New Member

    Vietnam veterans struggle with PTSD forty years after the war.

    Increased incidence of post traumatic stress disorder isn't only a problem for troops fresh from Iraq. The November issue of the magazine published by Veterans of Foreign Wars reports that since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Department of Veteran Affairs has seen a 59 percent increase in the number of Vietnam veterans seeking PTSD counseling at its mental health centers.

    Dr. Ira Katz, VA's deputy chief mental health care officer, said that the high incidence of late-onset PTSD in Vietnam veterans may be caused by aging-induced physical changes in the brain that impair the sufferer's ability to suppress symptoms.

    Katz said that along with physical aging, lifestyle changes brought on by retirement also leave veterans more susceptible to PTSD as they leave jobs and social structures that may have helped them cope previously.

    Media exposure may also be a major contributor to the higher incidence of Vietnam vets' PTSD. "Vicarious re-traumatization by seeing news and events and even fiction related to the current war may re-awaken symptoms of PTSD," Katz said.

    Katz strongly emphasized the disease's treatability. "It's not like getting pneumonia, where you take an antibiotic and that's it. It's more like asthma, where you have a series of attacks that you treat. Maybe people will always be more vulnerable to attacks and relapses. But it is treatable."


    Source: Amanda Marquart, Medill Report

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