is denying there is a comparison between the
war in Iraq and Vietnam. However, some
soldiers are seeing a comparison when it
comes to their mental health.
The VA clinic says about 5% of its Vietnam
vets are having flashbacks and a relapse
with their post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is an issue many vets don't want to talk
about, but mental health experts say talking
helps the vets and the rest of our society
Images Triggering Flashbacks
The Iraqi images that flash across the
television are triggering flashbacks for
some Vietnam veterans.
"Their wounds are made worse by similar
violence that occurs there now with the
ambushes," said Clinical Psychologist
Michael Sheehan, Ph.D.
This fear makes sleeping difficult.
"Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War
they work only at night not during the day
because they were attacked at night so they
want to stay up all night because that's the
danger time," said Dr. Sheehan. "Of course
it's not the same situation but it's the
same dynamics for vets that are suffering."
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
include anxiety, fear, isolation and
"A guy told me yesterday he saw a burning
truck. That's all he needed. He flashed back
to the burning truck in Vietnam. He smelled
the smell. He got the feel of what that was
like and it set off his symptoms all over
again," says Dr. Sheehan.
Treatment and therapy help. It's help that a
whole new generation of soldiers may need
when they return from Iraq.
It's expected the Iraqi veterans will
hopefully not suffer as much as Vietnam
vets. The more we learn more about the
disorder, the more we become more open to
talking about it and treating it.
Also, the attitude is different now then it
was during the Vietnam War. We are honoring
those who return now and that did not happen
Welcoming home the soldiers from Iraq
improves their mental health. They may still
suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
but we hope it won't be as severe as it is
for Vietnam veterans.
TO A BETTER
Post Traumatic Therapy by Frank Ochberg
The Counting Method for Ameliorating
Traumatic Memories by Frank Ochberg
CULTIVATING RESILIENCY by Carl C. Bell,
PTSD 101 for Journalists by Frank Ochberg,
The Aftermath of War -- Coping With PTSD