From today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Echoes of combat in Iraq are reverberating among veterans of bygone wars to the point where some are experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
A Department of Veterans Affairs study published in February found that reports of mental distress among VA patients aged 18-44 increased dramatically between 2000 and 2003 - when war in Iraq erupted. The study, based on an annual national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared the physical and mental health of nearly 22,000 vets in 2000, and 31,000 veterans in 2003.
VA researchers said that although the increased levels of mental distress were highest among younger vets, many of whom served in Desert Storm, they also noted, "Vietnam-era VA patients [aged 45 to 64 years] reported particularly high levels."
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Many veterans, in another survey earlier this year said they feel that we didn't learn anything from Vietnam.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said PTSD disability-compensation cases have nearly doubled since 2000, to a record 260,000-plus, with the largest portion coming since the Iraq war started in 2003. Most of those claims (73 percent) are for Vietnam-era veterans, and Vasil isn't surprised.
Vasil said that as these veterans got older and sought treatment for physical health problems, caregivers "started finding that a lot of these guys are having trouble with PTSD. The war in Iraq just amplified it."
Wilson said that for some veterans now reaching or well into retirement, "facing the prospect of the end of their life brings them back to that time when they had to face death for the first time."
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