PDF FLASHBACK: Vietnam: Cover-Up: PTSD

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Even decades after the war, there are still approximately a quarter of a million Vietnam Veterans that are suffering from PTSD. Today, we will look at the possible explanations for this high incidence, as well as some tips on preparing a PTSD claim. Even though PTSD because recognized as a real medical condition, the culture has been to avoid talking about PTSD because of social expectations to just move on from negative experiences.

This expectation is especially common with veterans who may feel as though talking about PTSD is a sign of weakness. During the Vietnam War, it was not uncommon for veterans to be in combat one day and back home with their family a couple of days later due to the availability of jet travel that was not present in previous wars. Additionally, there was a lack of public support for the Vietnam War compared to previous wars, and many of these veterans returning home were met with indifference or even hostile feelings from family, friends, and neighbors.

Veterans would return home to antiwar marches and protests rather than homecoming parades. Also, there was a very individual aspect associated with the Vietnam War. Tours in Vietnam were often solitary, individual tours. After the first few years of the Vietnam War, it was uncommon for whole units to be simultaneously sent to the war zone.

The individual aspect of the Vietnam War affected unit morale, unit cohesion, and unit identification. What was unusual about the rate of psychiatric symptoms associated with the Vietnam War was the large number of veterans that reported psychiatric problems after the war rather than during the war. Therefore, it was impossible for veterans to get service-connected for PTSD.

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Flashbacks

Adding to that problem was the fact that obtaining treatment for psychiatric symptoms through the VA was very difficult. There are three requirements for establishing a claim based on PTSD. These include:. It is also very important to have established treatment for your PTSD in order to document the severity of your symptoms and ensure a more accurate rating from the VA. Veterans who are dealing with the everyday stress of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD know that living with this condition certainly does not make life any easier.

Some veterans experience…. There are three steps to proving service connection for a disability: evidence of a current disability, an in-service incident that could have caused or aggravated the disability, and a nexus…. More specifically, women veterans of the Vietnam War suffer significant…. View all New York Times newsletters. Pamperin said. The new rule comes at a time when members of Congress and the veterans department itself are moving to expand health benefits and disability compensation for a variety of disorders linked to deployment.

Re-experiencing, hyperarousal, and avoidance or numbing

The projected costs of those actions are generating some opposition, though probably not enough to block any of the proposals. The rule, proposed last fall by the veterans department, would presume those diseases were caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant, if a veteran could simply demonstrate that he had set foot in Vietnam during the war.

Senator Jim Webb , Democrat of Virginia and a Vietnam veteran, has asked that Congress review the proposal before it takes effect. Webb said in a floor statement in May. More than two million service members have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since , and by some estimates 20 percent or more of them will develop P. More than , cases of P. But Mr. Sullivan said records showed that the veterans department had approved P.

That suggests, he said, that many veterans with the disorder are having their compensation claims rejected by claims processors. Sullivan said. Representative John Hall, Democrat of New York and sponsor of legislation similar to the new rule, said his office had handled dozens of cases involving veterans who had trouble receiving disability compensation for P. Hall said. Tell us what you think. There are numerous functions in the hippocampus; these functions also include aspects of memory consolidation.

In addition, studies have shown activity in areas of the prefrontal cortex to be involved in memory retrieval. Thus, the medial temporal lobe, precuneus , superior parietal lobe and posterior cingulate gyrus have all been implicated in flashbacks in accordance to their roles on memory retrieval. Memory has typically been divided into sensory, short term, and long term processes. Finally, involuntary memories arise due to automatic processing, which does not rely on higher-order cognitive monitoring, or executive control processing. Voluntary memory is normally associated with contextual information, which is what allows for correspondence between time and place, this is not true of flashbacks.

According to Brewin, Lanius et, al, , flashbacks, are disconnected from contextual information, and as a result are disconnected from time and place. To date, the specific causes of flashbacks have not yet been confirmed. Several studies have proposed various potential factors. Gunasekaran et al. On the reverse side, several ideas have been discounted in terms of their causing flashbacks.

Little Girl with Snow White has Vietnam flashback

Tym et al. A study of the persistence of traumatic memories in World War II prisoners of war [18] investigates through the administration of surveys the extent and severity of flashbacks that occur in prisoners of war. This study concluded that the persistence of severely traumatic autobiographical memories can last upwards of 65 years.


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Neuroimaging techniques have been applied to the investigation of flashbacks. Using these techniques, researchers attempt to discover the structural and functional differences in the anatomy of the brain in individuals who suffer from flashbacks compared to those who do not. Neuroimaging involves a cluster of techniques, including computerized tomography , positron emission tomography , magnetic resonance imaging including functional , as well as magnetoencephalography.

Neuroimaging studies investigating flashbacks are based on current psychological theories that are used as the foundation for the research, and one such theory that is consistently investigated is the difference between explicit and implicit memory.

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This distinction dictates the manner in which memories are later recalled, namely either consciously voluntarily or unconsciously involuntarily. These methods have largely relied on subtractive reasoning in which the participant voluntarily recalls a memory and then the memory is again recalled, but this time through involuntary means.

Involuntary memories or flashbacks are elicited in the participant by reading an emotionally charged script to them that is designed to trigger a flashback in individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The investigators record the regions of the brain that are active during each of these conditions, and then subtract the activity. Whatever is left is assumed to underpin the neurological differences between the conditions.

Imaging studies looking at patients with post-traumatic stress disorder as they undergo flashback experiences have identified elevated activation in regions of the dorsal stream including the mid- occipital lobe , primary motor cortex and supplementary motor area. The study also found reduced activation in regions such as the inferior temporal cortex and parahippocampus which are involved in processing allocentric relations.

Flashbacks are often associated with mental illness as they are a symptom and a feature in diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD , acute stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD. While other studies show that the use of drugs, specifically cannabis , can help reduce the occurrence of flashbacks in people with PTSD. The psychological phenomenon has frequently been portrayed in film and television.

Some of the most accurate media portrayals of flashbacks have been those related to wartime, and the association of flashbacks to post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the traumas and stresses of war. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Flashback disambiguation.

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