Monday, January 21, 2008

Post-traumatic purgatory

It would seem that a soldier’s return home would mark the end of what was surely a nightmarish experience. Unfortunately, for many soldiers, the emotional wounds of their tribulation prove too deep to heal.

As the number of Iraq war veterans grows larger, it is becoming apparent that many are not able to undergo a successful transition into society. The staggering amount of homeless vets suggests that the psychological impact of the war is not being fully accounted for. Post-traumatic stress disorder, it seems, has become one of the greatest threats to soldiers of the Iraq war. However, various drug and therapy treatments have proven effective in providing much needed rehabilitation. It’s just a matter of granting veterans access to these remedies—easier said than done considering the meager benefits afforded to returning soldiers.

By virtue of being a psychological ailment, post-traumatic stress disorder is often overlooked when assessing the condition of a soldier. Moreover, its effects may not become apparent until well after a soldier has returned. But to consider this condition as being inferior would be as foolish it would be reprehensible.

If the Bush administration wishes to minimize the negative impact of the war, they must begin by ensuring soldiers that their wounds—physical or otherwise—will not go untreated. Programs must be put in place to make the transition into society an easier one, and to monitor the mental health of soldiers as this process takes place. Of course, it is not realistic to think that the psychological impact of war can be completely erased; but it is an undertaking that must be attempted nevertheless.

1 comment:

Jon Gold said...

The way we've treated the vets of this war is just horrifying.