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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War

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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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  #1  
Old 08 Jan 10, 11:16
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PTSD: Vietnam vs Iraq/Afghanistan

The following is contained in a news release yesterday --

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – One in five service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from major depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

The full release can be found HERE.

This statistic sounds incredible and, if true, very concerning. I would be interested in any of your comments regarding a comparison of the incidence of PTSD resulting from the Vietnam War with what is now occurring in Southwest Asia. "Deep" depression? PTSD (presumably clinically diagnosed)? I would find it hard to believe that our numbers reached anything like 20% of the population (unless the standards for diagnosing PTSD are set very low - almost to the extent of "persistent troubled thoughts"). Note that the statistic is for "returning service members", not "returning combat arms service members".

Trail Boss - I would most appreciate any comments you have.

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  #2  
Old 08 Jan 10, 12:32
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You know, i have been avoiding this issue because who am I to know? But now I know.

This is garbage. It is a scam and it is wrong. And it takes away credibility from those who truly do have problems.

A very close friend of mine did two tours in Iraq. He never saw combat. He was support personnel. He lived in an air conditioned trailer with broadband internet. He never saw anyone who returned from combat bloodied. He was not on the front lines of anything more than the occasional mortar attack that he said was more routine than scary.

When he got back he went to a mandatory psychiatric evaluation. The Doctor tried to convince him he had PTSD even though my friend said he felt fine and was sure he didn't have any problems. Then the doctor told him that he could be declared partially disabled and get money for PTSD if he agreed to the diagnosis. At first my friend resisted but the doctor eventually convinced him by listing all the benefits that would accrue to him. So my friend accepted the diagnosis to get the bennies. The bennies include reduced duty, choice assignments, recreational activities like cruises, not having to go to morning formation, and all sorts of fun things he gets to do in the name of "therapy". They are also giving him Viagra, which he at first didn't want to take, but when a friend told him he should try it he decided he like it so now he gets that regularly too.

I tell him that I think it is wrong and his reply is that he thinks it is wrong too, but the Army is promoting this and him not taking the bennies will not stop the programs and will not stop others from taking them anyway, so he says he might as well.

The part that bothers me the most is that the Army doctor was pushing for all this like a salesman.

I am sure that if my friend is diagnosed as PTSD and is gaming the system over it then it is not his original situation and that others are as well. By the score.

So those statistics are about as good as the diagnosis of my friend and we all get to pay for and bear the consequences of the erosion of our military because of them.

Last edited by Miss Saigon; 08 Jan 10 at 19:45..
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Old 08 Jan 10, 17:42
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If that is the criteria... I need to be in a straight jacket........and I didn't endure ****
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Old 08 Jan 10, 19:29
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Old 08 Jan 10, 23:54
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Hmm. According to VA data taken from the National Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment Study, the prevalence of PTSD associated with the Vietnam experience is even greater than that for Iraq/Afghanistan --


What were the major findings of the NVVRS?
The most important overall conclusion of the NVVRS was that across over 100 life-adjustment indices, the majority of Vietnam veterans appeared to have successfully readjusted to postwar life, and the majority were at the time of the study experiencing few symptoms of psychological disorders. However, the NVVRS also revealed that a substantial minority of Vietnam theater veterans were suffering from a variety of psychological problems and experiencing a wide range of life-adjustment problems (e.g., marital problems, work difficulties). Unfortunately, only a small number of these veterans actually sought treatment from mental health providers.

What is the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder?
PTSD was assessed using a multimethod approach, including three primary indicators: the Mississippi Combat-Related PTSD Scale, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-PTSD Scale, and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R PTSD module. Seven secondary indicators were also used. According to the results gathered using these assessment tools, an estimated 15.2% of male and 8.5% of female Vietnam theater veterans met criteria for current PTSD (Schlenger et al., 1992). Those with high levels of war-zone exposure had significantly higher rates, with 35.8% of men and 17.5% of women meeting criteria for current PTSD. Rates of PTSD were consistently higher for Vietnam theater veterans than for Vietnam era veterans and civilians. The NVVRS estimated prevalence of lifetime PTSD among Vietnam theater veterans was even higher, with similar rates between male and female veterans. As opposed to full PTSD, Weiss et al. (1992) found that a substantial number of Vietnam veterans had current partial PTSD, with even higher prevalence rates for lifetime partial PTSD. Overall, the NVVRS found that at the time of the study approximately 830,000 male and female Vietnam theater veterans (26%) had symptoms and related functional impairment associated with PTSD.

In a reanalysis of the NVVRS data, along with analysis of the data from the Matsunaga Vietnam Veterans Project, Schnurr, Lunney, Sengupta, and Waelde (2003) found that, contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.



I guess it is now a matter of how much validity and accuracy one attributes to the study methodologies used and whether there are other factors [politics, professional advancement, program promotion and growth, power of persuasion (a la Miss Saigon's example), self-fulfilling prophecy, etc., etc.] that may have entered into the motives of the researchers and the characterization of findings - or otherwise impacted objectivity.

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Last edited by RadioResearcher; 08 Jan 10 at 23:58..
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Old 09 Jan 10, 01:55
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hell......I was a nutcase before I volunteered to go
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Old 09 Jan 10, 01:56
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I was in 'Nam & I'm in Iraq. It's beyond credibility to believe that 20% of these guys have PTSD when they return home. Sounds more like some doctors building job security to me.

OK, so the guy takes the dough for being PTSD. He will have difficulty in the future obtaining/keeping his security clearance. Yeah, I know what the military says & I know what the government does, I've seen it firsthand.

There are several jobs out there that will not hire someone with PTSD.

Can you purchase a gun in the USA if you are diagnosed with PTSD? You can't if you've spent anytime in a mental institution or been convicted of spousal abuse. Who's to say that PTSD in the future won't keep you from legally having a gun?

PTSD is real. I have 'Nam frieds with it. Sudden loud noises send me off like a rocket. But before someone takes the percs and gets a PTSD placed in their personnel folder they better think loud and long if it will really be worth it and if they really have it.

Next they will be wanting to give you a Purple Heart for PTSD. Shocks, I got messed up by Agent Orange, can I have a Purple Heart? Just joking with that last question, not serious.
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Old 09 Jan 10, 02:02
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I would not be able to look in the mirror if I accepted any money for PTSD.....Give it to the ones who deserve it
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Old 09 Jan 10, 10:56
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Given what I know I don't think you can trust the numbers
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Old 09 Jan 10, 13:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailboss49 View Post
I was in 'Nam & I'm in Iraq. It's beyond credibility to believe that 20% of these guys have PTSD when they return home. Sounds more like some doctors building job security to me.
It's almost as if PTSD is "de rigueur" now!

I read many stories over the years of RVN vets trying to get help and being stone walled by the VA, and I'm sure all have known vets who struggled with life after Nam. Heck, just the social stigma of being a Viet Nam Vet was an issue.

Now the pendulum has swung to such an extreme that we seem to be enabling these guys!
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Old 09 Jan 10, 13:22
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Originally posted by trailboss49
Can you purchase a gun in the USA if you are diagnosed with PTSD? You can't if you've spent anytime in a mental institution or been convicted of spousal abuse. Who's to say that PTSD in the future won't keep you from legally having a gun?
My cousin, who did two tours in Iraq as an infantryman, refuses to have himself diagnosed for this very reason. In truth, I am certain that he has PTSD (strange as it may seem, I am not a psychologist ), nevertheless I am familiar with the symptoms and am pretty convinced.

In my opinion, a government ban on people with PTSD owning guns, is incredibly unlikely to happen. Veterans are something of an honored class (it was not always so, but most of the time) and such a move would enrage a lot of people, including I think the NRA. Secondly, many cops are now being diagnosed with PTSD and if barred from owning a gun, this would effectively disallow them to work. I would not be suprised if some ATF bureaucrat would contimplate such a move, but the political fallout would be enormous.
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Old 09 Jan 10, 17:23
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In my YOUNGER years, I was sometimes called a "crazy Vietnam Vet". Now that I'm an OLD guy, they call me a "crazy OL' man". hmmmmm, maybe I should jump on the PTSD bandwagon?????

Personally I think that those that have seen, done, and/or participated (legally) in HORRIFIC events while serving their country probably should be able to qualify for PTSD VA benefits.

Some possible military qualifying HORRIFIC events;

1) Grave registration and/or burial personnel who DAILY attended (hands-on) to the soldiers (either in country and or during transport).

2) Combat Medics and/or Medical professionals (Dr's., Nurses, etc.) attending to the immediate wounds (in field or initial surgery, and/or the intensive care wards after surgery).

3) MedEvac (Dust Off) folks

4) Ground Combat folks that participated in MAJOR Battles

5) Ground Combat folks that have seen/smelled the dead bodies (friendly or enemy)

6) Military reporters/photographers that have been there and done that with reference to 3 and 4 above

7) Air Combat folks (Gun Ships, & Fighters) that directly supported ground troops in the middle of battle

8) Folks involved in “Friendly Fire” incidents that killed or wounded their own troops

The above is just off the top of my head – probably not all areas are covered – basically, I feel I’ve made my point.

Many folks have “horrible” thoughts left over from their war experience; but if they are able to function and be productive in their family and/or communities, I basically feel these folks have no need to receive PTSD funds from the VA! IMHO!

P.S. Battles to me were not the few little "fire fights" combat troops tend to be involved in now and then. Fire Fights, although intense, are not necessarily HORRIFIC! However, after participating in dozens of little fire fights, one does start thinking that his LUCK may be running a little thin. I also feel that multiple tours (within itself) would not necessarily qualify for PTSD!


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Old 09 Jan 10, 20:02
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When I returned from Iraq after being wounded, I know for a fact I suffered from effects of PTSD. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and it was a factor in receiving a 70% disability rating from the VA, (with individual umemployability bumping the benefits up to 100%) This was in 2004. At the time I was seriously suffering from symptoms, but it was more of an acute case than a chronic case. I have treated the symptoms, with the help of the VA, and have pretty much put those demons to rest. Could they come back? Sure, but if they do I know exactly how to deal with them.

TB - I have been treated as an inpatient for PTSD at Madigan Army Medical Center, American Lake VAMC (Pudget Sound) and the Fayetteville, NC VAMC, I recently stated this on a background check form for purchasing a .300 Win Mag as a gift for my uncle, and had no problems legally purchasing the rifle. Could it be a screw up by whoever did the background check? Possibly, but nobody ever briefed me that because I was treated as an inpatient for PTSD I lost my right to bear arms.

Even though my symptoms for PTSD have diminished, I still receive full 100% benefits from the VA and I also receive SSDI, but I also had severe brain trauma which has a lot of effects on me.
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Old 09 Jan 10, 20:56
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Welcome to this forum Stryker, and thank you for serving our country!



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Old 10 Jan 10, 03:02
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Tottenritter & Stryker:

Looks like things are good for getting PTSD treatment & legally owning a firearm in the USA....for the moment.

Why did I add that last comment? Because when Billy Clinton was prez by Executive Order he made it illegal for anyone to own/purchase a firearm who has been convicted of spousal abuse. There were dozens of Federal, state and local law enforcement officers who lost their jobs because they had pleaded out for some reason 20 years prior to spousal abuse & suddenly lost their constitutional right to bear arms. Never take anything for granted when it comes to liberals using double standards.
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