Ptsd in Soldiers Returning from Combat

Assignment 1Carrie Mowatt Introduction PTSD is classified as a severe anxiety disorder which is likely to develop when a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events. This study consists of surveys which measure the levels of posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms in soldiers returning from active duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The research will attempt to show soldiers returning from an extended tour of duty are at high risk for developing these mental issues.
As discussed in class, stress is any challenge to the system and has an effect on one’s emotions as well as their physical well being. Measuring the effects of war on a soldier is sure to expose signs of stress. If a soldier should show signs of posttraumatic stress they could most likely experience things such as anxiety, aggression, with drawl and impaired cognitive performance which would effect their everyday lives and due harm to their physical wellbeing. Hypothesis
The purpose of this study was to identify soldiers who were most at risk of experiencing posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms after serving time in a combat zone. Their goal was to gather information so they may develop intervention programs which would be beneficial in assisting troops who have displayed signs of posttraumatic stress and or depressive symptoms. Participants The participants in this study consisted of 4,089 United States soldiers returning from active duty in Iraq and or Afghanistan. Over half of those who participated were white males.

The remainder of the subjects were Black, Hipic, Pacific Islander, Asian, Native American, Biracial or other. Only a few surveyed were female. Methods Participants were given surveys in a classroom setting. The information gathered consisted of the soldiers age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, military rank, time served and number of children living at home. In order to measure the levels of posttraumatic and depressive symptoms, participants were asked a series of questions such as, if they had seen any counselor since returning including counselors for personal problems.
Soldiers were asked to rate their feelings when exposed to certain situations, such as, whether they felt isolated or nervous around other people, or if they experienced bad dreams involving the horrible things which they endured while serving their time in either Iraq or Afghanistan. They also answered questions which involved rating their satisfaction with life. Results After the research was calculated it was determined that almost half of the participants reported symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depressive symptoms or both.
Soldiers returning from Iraq reported higher levels of posttraumatic stress than those returning from Afghanistan and were more likley to seek counseling. However, soldiers returning from Iraq were more satisfied with life than those returning from Afghanistan. It was shown in soldiers returning from both Iraq and Afghanistan that being separated or divorced was related to higher levels of posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms. Soldier who were single or separated were more likely to seek counseling than soldiers who were married.
Soldiers of a higher ranking were less likely to report symptoms. Those who had counseling prior to redeployment were more likely to report symptoms. Problems One problem with this study would be that the soldiers involved volunteered to participate in this research. I believe it would have been better to test soldiers at random therefore you would possibly have a much different outcome if the soldiers tested were not already willing to offer up this personal information. Or by handpicking the participants the researchers would have a more controlled experiment.
I see the ratio of white males to ethnic males in this study to be a problem also. More than half of the soldiers in this study were white males. They should include a higher number of men from other ethnic groups or do a separate study on each ethnic group of soldiers in order to have a more accurate conclusion which could be referenced by the appropriate group. A clear issue to me is the almost invisible female presence in this study and that only six percent of soldiers involved were women. It is obvious the researchers should either include more women or make this study specifically male oriented.
Lastly, the lack of knowledge concerning the lives of the soldiers before they were deployed threatens the results of this study. Not knowing what their exact mental state was before being exposed to highly stressful situations makes it hard to determine if the results are accurate. As for trying to determine a solution for this, it is difficult to say what could be done to measure this. Conclusion After reading this article I would conclude that soldiers returning from war are highly likely to show signs of posttraumatic stress and or depressive symptoms.
The research showed that soldiers who weren’t married were more likely to report depressive symptoms. I am not sure if this means they are more depressed or if it is just that married soldiers are less likely to report the depression. It could be that married men choose not to come forward and admit symptoms in order to appear strong and continuously brave to their family. The results could also mean having a family and a strong social support system could help aid the soldiers.
I feel there were many faults in this study and it is mainly directed towards soldiers who are male, white and married. Also, the strictly volunteer basis of this study makes it hard to determine acurately how many soldiers actualy suffer from PTSD or are likely to show symptoms after returning from war. Reference Page Lapierre, C. B, Schwegler, A. F, and LaBave, B. J (2007). Posttraumatic Stress and Depression Symptoms in Soldiers Returning from Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 933-943.

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