PTSD Combat is no longer being updated.

Find Ilona blogging at Magyar Etimológia and Etymartist.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

PBS NewsHour Airs Informative Program on Combat Stress

Last Friday, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer aired a program on the emotional and physical factors of combat [listen/view via real audio :: mp3 download :: streaming video]. Before night vision goggles and modern war machinery equipped with radar and heat-seeking missiles, battles were fought during daylight hours. At night, generally, things quieted down somewhat, leaving troops to get at least a bit of a break from the fighting. Not so today...

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for details and video...

From the introduction [program transcript]:

SPECIALIST LAKE, U.S. Army: You've got grenades going off. You've got an IED blowing up your vehicle. And then you're expected to go back in those four to five hours and relax, to come back out and do another six hours. You just don't have time to do it. Your body never gets to come down. You're always on that heightened sense of alertness; you just don't have that rest.

Discussing the role physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation -- the norm for today's combat troops -- play in a soldier's ability to deal with the stress of warfare and related issues:

  • Former Navy Lieutenant Commander Heidi Kraft who directed a combat stress unit in Iraq and is currently a clinical psychologist in San Diego who sees exclusively combat trauma patients.
  • Former Army Major Brian Butler, who served in the first Gulf War, and is a licensed professional counselor with the Colorado Springs Health Group working with soldiers back from Iraq."
Caution: Contains some mature/graphic content.

Part 1

Part 2

ABC World News also had a compelling report on combat stress last week. Kudos to them both for their focus on this issue.

And, finally, a related quote by Iowa Rep. Ray Zirkelbach, who returned with a Purple Heart in July springing from service in Iraq with the Iowa National Guard's 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry:

In addition to a few physical impairments, Zirkelbach is dealing with emotional scars that have caused troubled sleep. He hasn't been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder - commonly known as PTSD - but will see a specialist this month to help him with his problems. Part of the problem may simply be readjusting to civilian life, he said.

"We had long days and short nights of sleep, were constantly busy, and we were used to being in the heat and constantly under stress," Zirkelbach said. "Then you come back here, in a nice environment, and your body doesn't physically know how to react. Your mind doesn't know what to do. You're used to having chaos."

Former state Sen. Chuck Larson Jr., a Republican from Cedar Rapids, said he can relate to Zirkelbach's situation. Larson, who did not seek re-election in 2006, missed the 2004 legislative session and part of the 2005 session while he was stationed in Iraq. "There's no question that it takes time to adjust," Larson said. "To go from the combat environment to not just the civilian world but the world of an elected official clearly takes time to adjust."

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur after someone has experienced a traumatic event. The disorder can be debilitating as people relive trauma or suffer from anxiety. Between 12 percent and 20 percent of American soldiers who have served in Iraq have PTSD, according to the National Center for PTSD, which is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A thoughtful feature on the representative. Read the rest.

Related Posts

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Want to stay connected? You can subscribe to PTSD Combat via Feedburner or follow Ilona on Twitter.
Later/Newer Posts Previous/Older Posts Return Home

2011: Jan Feb
2010: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2009: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2008: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2007: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2006: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2005: Sept Oct Nov Dec

Legal Notice

The information presented on this web site is based on news reports, medical and government documents, and personal analysis. It does NOT represent therapeutic prescription or recommendation. For specific advice and information, consult your health care provider.

Comments at PTSD Combat do not necessarily represent the editor's views. Illegal or inappropriate material will be removed when brought to our attention. The existence of such does not reflect an endorsement.

This site contains at times large portions of copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is used for educational purposes, to forward understanding of issues that concern veterans and military families. In accordance with U.S. Copyright Law Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. More information.