The Expense of War
Saddam Hussein of Iraq was known to be a vicious and aggressive leader. He had led huge wars against other nations and won them successfully with strong weapons and brave soldiers to fight in frontline for him. He was a ruthless and naturally irrational leader of a country known to be a keeper of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). As such, Saddam and his country were viewed as a threat to all the nations of the world (Mearsheimer and Harrison, 2003). Believing that Iraq possesses WMD’s, United States led a revolution against Iraq and Saddam even before Saddam was able to initiate anything.
With the argument that Saddam and his nuclear warheads pose as great threats to many innocent lives, United States was able to convince the United Nations and few other countries to support the declaration war against Iraq. Troops from the different parts of the world were deployed to Iraq to hunt for Sadam and to confiscate the warhead that he allegedly has in possession (Mearsheimer and Harrison, 2003). The invasion that started in May 2003 has put many lives on the line. The Iraq people, even those who were innocent, were greatly affected.
According to researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, the excess death toll during the Iraq war was estimated to be 100,000. This number was based on reports and statistics passed by hospitals and the military. However, from the start of the invasion, this rate has elevated to between 400,000 and 950,000 owing from the gunshots and car bombs that were fired (Science in Society, 2006). These displays of violence and pain inflicted on innocent people who do not deserve them took a toll on the soldiers who came to fight for what seemed to be an irrational war.
The brave men from the different parts of the United States who were sent to Iraq for what was said to be for the safety of loved ones and the whole world were doubtful of their cause. As innocent as the people in Iraq, the soldiers were only fighting according to the call of their profession but the dignity does not seem to be present. They seem to have been forced to witness various types of violence that may have ultimately resulted to numerous psychosomatic disorders (Castro et al, 2004).
This study aims to find out whether there are psychosomatic effects of the war in Iraq not only on civilians but most especially to the soldiers that were deployed to battle. It shall emphasize on anxiety disorders, specifically post traumatic stress disorder developed because from the experience of seemingly senseless violence. It shall also try to establish the short- term and long term effects of this disorder on the soldiers. PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops from exposure to terrible events or inescapable situations that incurred physical harm or threat.
It may also be fear, helplessness, or horror provoked by horrible experiences. People who develop PTSD are usually those who have experienced or witnessed violence happening to a loved one or any human being. It was first publicized relative to the veterans of war, although it can also be triggered by other crimes like rape, torture, kidnapping, child abuse, or even vehicular accidents. People with PTSD exhibit symptoms that point to lack of emotion or feelings even to their loved ones who used to be closest to them. They also get startled easily.
They lose interest in hobbies and things they used to enjoy. From love of sports, they may transform to boring and almost catatonic people. Their affection also seems to slowly disappear. If they do not become almost robotic, they become easily irritated, aggressive, and very violent (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008). PTSD patients also usually avoid conditions that remind them of the incident that triggered their disorder, although they are known to relive the entire event in their minds when they are awake and at night, they see it in their sleep and wake up in panic.
This repetition of the event in their thought is called as flashbacks. Flashbacks commonly consist of feelings, images, sounds, smell that related to the original incident. They are usually set off by common occurrences like sounds of cars backfiring and doors being slammed. As soon as it is set off, flashbacks make PTSD patients lose grasp of reality and believe that the original incident is taking place all over again (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008). PTSD may develop as only minor or full-blown.
The signs usually start within three months of the occurrence of the incident but surface irregularly years after. If the symptoms do not last for more than a month, it may not be considered PTSD. Recovery from PSTD in each patient varies. Some recover from the disorder with six months, others experience it longer, while to some it unfortunately becomes chronic (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008). Although PTSD is common to war veterans, it can also occur to a common person at any age.
Women are said to be more susceptible to develop PTSD than men. It is also said that the disorder may run in the family or hereditary. However, there are various medications and treatments available for the recovery or rehabilitation of PSTD patients (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008). PTSD in Iraq War Soldiers Upon the declaration of invasion of military, troops were deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a study by Castro et al, (2004) the troops sent to Iraq were more exposed to violence or firefight the whole time.
Only 31 percent of troops deployed to Afghanistan were found to have engaged in firefight while 71 to 86 percent of soldiers sent to Iraq experienced the violence of firefights. These 71 to 86 percent were found to be likely to report of having developed mental illnesses. And the rates of these reports are significantly high in favor of post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, the common origins of the development of PTSD among the enlisted troops were combat experiences.
More than 90 percent of them reported that they have undergone the experience of being shot, seeing and handling dead bodies, witnessing someone being killed, knowing some who was killed or killing the enemy pawns. As such, the rate of PSTD cases was linear with the number of experienced firefights. The more the soldiers went out to battle, the more they became susceptible to war syndromes (Castro et al, 2004). This was also proven by further results for questions that indicate whether the possibility of development of the syndrome was high before or after deployment.
The results showed that many of the respondents had developed the disorder after deployment as they were only slightly prepared before deployment for such possibilities (Castro et al, 2004). Another result that may be considered alarming is that most soldiers who reported have developed the disorder decline to undergo treatment. Out of the 71 to86 percent only a small percentage agreed to seek professional help, while only fewer of them were already seeing doctors for medication and treatments.
Reluctance to undergo treatment, take medication, or even accept the diagnosis was rampant because of the fear of changed perceptions by peers and co-members of the troop. Others are worried that people may stigmatize the leaders who undergo treatment for a psychosomatic disorder (Castro et al, 2004). Analysis Given the results of the research by Castro et al (2004), it points that the war in Iraq has caused a great damage to both the innocent civilians in Iraq and the innocent soldiers sent there to fight.
The war soldiers were found to have developed psychosomatic disorders in relation to the violence that ensued for about 3 years or more. They were relatively normal before deployment but almost mad as they returned. The short-term results of this are probably the symptoms like fear of going out. It may also include the hypersensitivity to sounds and events that may trigger flashbacks. Accident proneness may also be considered as flashbacks occur to patients they cause them to become more likely to lose touch of reality (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008).
Another short-term effect may be the person’s probability to disengage to activities and things that used to make the individual happy. This can lead to ultimate boredom that may also result to high levels of irritability that may be followed by arguments or quarrels with family members. It may also be dangerous especially when irritation is triggered outside of the home, as this may be inflicted on a stranger (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008) who may not know how to handle the situation. This may be very dangerous and may lead to effects that are not considered short-term.
Long-term effects of the war are more on the morale aspect as in the case of soldiers who have developed PTSD. It wounds the pride of a soldier, who has for long believed that a soldier is supposed to be brave and dignified at all times. Undergoing treatment for an illness incurred for war may be considered degrading and somehow diminishes their eligibility for leadership (Castro et al, 2004). Another long-term effect may rest on the symptoms like indifference or lacking of emotion or feelings (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008).
Aside from its effect on the soldiers, their families are also affected and saddened by the effect inflicted by the war experience. It may also be followed by unfamiliarity, specifically to soldiers who are fathers to very young children. Since they are mostly distant, there may not be a chance for a father and child bonding. Conclusion It may thus be said that the soldiers deployed to war in Iraq have developed psychosomatic disorders due to continuous exposure to violence and death. It also points that most of them developed post traumatic disorder that took a toll on them in both the short and the long run.
It may be said that the short and long-term effects of the disorder depend mostly to the state of the disorder for each patient. The symptoms for the level of condition of the patients act as factor that triggers the effects of the illness. As such, it may be concluded that those soldiers who developed chronic PTSD are more likely to suffer long-term effects, while those who developed a more treatable condition are likely to suffer short-term effects. References Castro, C. A. , et al. (2004). Combat Duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mental Health Problems, and Barriers to Care.
The New England Journal of Medicine 351, 13-22. Mearshimer, J. J, Walt, S. M. (2003). An Unnecessary war. Foreign Policy. Retrieved December 12, 2008 from http://www. mtholyoke. edu/acad/intrel/bush/walt. htm National Institute for Mental Health. (2008). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved Dcember 12, 2008 from http://www. nimh. nih. gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index. shtml Science in Society. (2006). Civilian impact of Iraq war Needs Attention. Retrieved DecemberSample Essay of Paperial.com