Vietnam Veterans Still Coping with PTSD, Study Finds

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Soldiers SalutingAlthough it has been 40 years since the Vietnam War officially ended, a recent study found that Vietnam veterans continue to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
According to the study, which was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in July 2015, over 270,000 Vietnam veterans continue to suffer from PTSD.  The study was conducted by contacting and obtaining data from veterans who participated in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, which was ordered by Congress and completed in the 1980s.
Based on the data collected, the study found that some of the veterans suffer from full PTSD and subthreshold war-zone PTSD, and over one-third of those veterans suffering from PTSD also suffer from major depressive disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

  • The person experienced a traumatic event;
  • Intrusive memories, including: flashbacks; nightmares with the event as the subject matter; recurrent, unwanted memories of the event; and/or severe emotional reactions or emotions triggered by event-like images or sounds;
  • Negative changes in thinking or mood, including: inability to feel or lack of emotion; negative personal feelings or feelings about others; inability to feel positive about anything; feelings of hopelessness; memory loss; and/or difficulty with personal relationships;
  • Avoidance, including: avoiding people, places or things that remind the person of the event; and/or avoiding talking or thinking of the event;
  • Changes in emotional reactions, such as: sleeping problems; thinking problems; inability to concentrate; severe emotional outbursts, anger, or inability to control one’s emotional responses; aggressive behavior; self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much alcohol, drug use, driving too fast, taking risks; and/or overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame.

These symptoms may start within three months of the event or may take longer, even up to many years, to develop.  Further, symptoms may increase in severity and/or frequency over time, or may be triggered by certain experiences, such as stress or other experiences that remind the person of the event.

Subthreshold PTSD

The signs and symptoms of subthreshold PTSD are the same as those of classic PTSD.  However, the designation of “subthreshold PTSD” means that the person’s disorder does not rise to the level of classic PTSD as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, otherwise known as the DSM-V.  The DSM-V is a manual used by mental health care professionals in diagnosing mental health disorders.

Major Depressive Disorder (“MDD”)

A person may be diagnosed with MDD if he/she has experienced a period of major depression, including the following symptoms:

  • Significant change in appetite and/or a significant weight loss or gain;
  • Depressed mood;
  • Loss of interest or inability to feel pleasure;
  • Loss of sleep (insomnia) or too much sleep (hypersomnia);
  • Changes in psychomotor functioning;
  • Fatigue or energy loss;
  • Feeling worthless and/or severe guilt feelings;
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death; and/or
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions.

Speak with a Veterans Disability Attorney Now

If you or someone you love is a veteran suffering from PTSD, you should speak with J. Robert Surface, an experienced veterans disability attorney.  J. Robert Surface will fight for you to ensure you obtain the full benefits to which you are entitled.  Contact us now for a free consultation.