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Psychological effects of war on a soldierDocument Transcript
Psychological Effects of War on a Soldier’s Life Explored in Frontline: The Soldier’s HeartUnderstanding the effects of war on a soldier’s life has never been explained better than in theFrontline TV Series documentary that was aired on 10th May 2005 as American public television’s(PBS) flagship public affairs series. Frontline has been hailed for being the best broadcastdocumentary for over 23 years and it was reaffirmed with The Soldier’s Heart. In this episode, thehorrors of war are revealed when soldier’s come back from the Iraq War unharmed, but mentallyvanquished. Through interviews with mental health experts who attend upon the soldiers as wellU.S. Marines based in Camp Pendleton, San Diego, The Soldier’s Heart accesses the deeper recessesof the mind of a soldier and draws out the conclusion that the U.S. government and the militaryneed to do a lot more to treat soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).In this episode several scenes are shown that leaves a deep question about whose war is it? WhenU.S. Marine Rob Sarra opens fire on a black burqa clad Iraqi woman who was only trying to wave aflag, he becomes extremely sad and carries the burden of this incident when he comes back home.PTSD research conducted at U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) showed that almost 6 percentof soldiers suffer from PTSD and 62 percent required mental treatment on returning home. Inanother story, Lucey suffers from panic attacks, isolates himself and turn to alcohol as he had tocontinuously be a witness to several deaths that kept replaying in Iraq. This clearly shows signs ofPTSD as VA reports have also indicated that almost 27 percent veteran soldiers turn to alcohol.While at war, the soldiers keep reassuring themselves by saying that their life is over and reportsreveal that on any given day there are more psychological casualties. Jim Dooley states that once thesoldiers reach home the war carnage begins to resonate in their mind and they suffer from mentalproblems. War veterans of Vietnam had suffered from post-Vietnam Syndrome which later came tobe known as PTSD. The Soldier’s Heart revealed that most military trainings focused on the physicalaspect and did not pay heed to the mental health of the soldier. Veterans Affairs reveal that mostsoldiers who undergo resilience treatment are again sent back to war and military asserts thatfighting is their job, regardless of mental health and PTSD symptoms. However, since January 2005,the Defense Department has tried to pay heed to the mental treatment required by war veteranssuffering from PTSD though the solutions are far from making any real impact. Colonel ThomasBurke, director of health at the Defense Department admits that most war veterans cannot remainthe unchanged after coming from war. Stigma of the war is another important factor that leadssoldiers to PTSD. In The Soldier’s Heart, some soldiers are shown trying to avoid thoughts and peoplewhile others remain anxious, indicating that soldiers are constantly suffering from PTSD.(497 words)