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The Things They Carried: Better Treatments for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder


The Important Things They Brought: Better Treatments for Trauma

!.?.!? The Things They Brought: Better Treatments for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20 out of 100 Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were identified with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and 30 in 100 Veterans of the Vietnam War. PTSD, short for posttraumatic disorder, is an anxiety disorder that was very first called in 1980 a few years after the Vietnam War. It was not a coincidence that the disorder was discovered just after the Vietnam War due to the reality that many soldiers had to face many distressing events on the battleground.

Furthermore, the horrifying memories kept coming back and have intruded the soldier’s mind. As a result, victims of PTSD experienced sleeping disorder in addition to lots of other psychological and emotional problems. A number of soldiers have actually even taken their own life as an outcome of PTSD. Tim O’Brien, a Vietnam Veteran who was when a victim of the condition, tells his war experience through The Things They Carried, a collection of fictional narratives. Characters in The Important Things They Carried demonstrate many impacts and signs of PTSD that resemble modern day PTSD.

In addition to that, it recommends the needs to enhance the treatments of PTSD for the soldiers through much better therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure treatment, and EMDR treatment. Jensen is sadly one of the numerous characters in the book that succumbs to PTSD and it wouldn’t be to such an extreme degree if there was treatment like cognitive behavior modification available at the time. One sign of PTSD is violence, in which the client acts aggressively and violently toward simple issues due to the failure to handle tension.

In “Enemies”, Jensen breaks Strunk’s nose even if of a missing jackknife (O’Brien 63). During the war, the emotional stress is so heavy that it actually causes numerous soldiers to collapse and it’s not just the Vietnam War, it stays real for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars likewise. According to the post “Killer. Therapist. Victim” by Mark Thompson of Time’s Magazine, Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle and a fellow veteran, Chad Littlefield were both shot by ex-Marine, Eddie Ray Routh as a consequence of without treatment PTSD.

Another troubling example is in the chapter “How to Inform a Real War Story” where Rat Kiley shoots a water buffalo just to see it suffers. This is because of the truth that his buddy Curt Lemon dies earlier in the day due to the fact that he steps on a landmine while playing catch. As one can see, PTSD is an extremely worrying anxiety condition and if left neglected, it might lead to devastating effects like the one discussed above. However, the British Occupational Health Research Foundation has recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a treatment for stress and anxiety disorders (___).

CBT is a kind of psychiatric therapy in which the client will deal with a psychotherapist who will then help the client to become mindful of unreliable or negative thinking (MayoClinic). ___ specified that “CBT highlights the effective links in between what an individual thinks of themselves or a scenario, how this impacts how they fell, physically and emotionally and how they behave”. If Jensen or Routh have the possibility to sit down with a psychologist and work out their problems then they would not have done what they did.

The therapist might assist them much better comprehend their thoughts and sensations that might stimulate violent habits. CBT is a great treatment for PTSD and it should be use to treat PTSD among the soldiers. Following “Enemies”, O’Brien witnesses a very troubling scene when he kills a Viet Cong in the chapter “The Man I Killed” that triggers him to have a psychological breakdown due to the fact that he could not physically manage the situation.

As O’Brien explains:” His jaw remained in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole, his eyebrows were thin and arched like a female’s, his nose was undamaged, there was a small tear at the lobe of one ear, his tidy black hair was swept upward into a cowlick at the back of the skull, his forehead was lightly freckled, his fingernails were tidy, the skin at his left cheek was peeled back in three rough strips, his best cheek was smooth and hairless, there was a butterfly on his chin, his neck was open to the spinal cord and the blood there was thick and shiny and it was this injury that had actually killed him” O’Brien just could not manage the situation therefore he makes up a life story for the male he eliminated. He provides the male an identity, an occupation, a household, his childhood and his ancestry. In this chapter, O’Brien is bombarded with the sensation of regret and confusion and it triggers him to prevent the reality.

In addition to that, he keeps on mentioning the guy’s physical appearances, showing that he is attempting to focus on something that is more obvious and concrete while he attempts to distance himself from his own sensations. This avoidance sign can be observed in soldiers with PTSD and this is one of the reasons it is really tough for many soldiers to mentally recover themselves. In an online public service announcement about PTSD from the Unites States Department of Veterans Affairs specified that “… when avoidance is extreme, or when it’s the main way you cope, it can interfere with your emotional recovery … and can make it more difficult to move on with your life” (___).

This might be really stressful for the soldiers and their households due to the fact that they are not able to sort out their feelings and feelings. Although, this problem is tough to deal with but CBT could help the soldiers figure out their sensations and handle them one by one instead of preventing them and making it even worse. O’Brien and other soldiers who experienced avoidance can truly gain from CBT as it might help them determine their sensations and emotions. Besides violence and avoidance, flashback of horrific events is common for clients with PTSD. According to the post On Guard Against PTSD by Finley, Soldiers frequently reported having flashback of distressing events that they have actually seen.

For Norman Bowker in the chapter “Mentioning Nerve” the memory of Kiowa’s death keeps coming back and haunts him even after twenty years. There wasn’t much that Bowker could’ve done because Kiowa fell under a sewage field and Bowker blames himself for not having the courage to emerge his body in the “shit field” he calls it, to save Kiowa. “The left hand was curled open; the fingernails were filthy; the watch gave off a green phosphorescent shine as it slipped beneath the thick waters” (O’Brien 149, 1990). He blames himself for this; however Lieutenant Jimmy Cross states that there was nothing that Bowker might’ve done about the scenario because the water was unfathomable.

Even after twenty years, Bowker might not live a serene life and he wonders around the lake that his friend Max Arnold drowned when he was still in high school. Paradoxically, the lake also advises Bowker of Kiowa’s death, which he has not speak to anybody about it. Exact same thing happened to Ted, who is a former Vietnam veteran and he reported experiencing extreme terrible flashback and headaches after returning from Vietnam. He likewise said that he would sleep with the lights on and sometimes he would not sleep at all (Saperstein 1992). The two stories might’ve been various if Bowker and Ted would seek direct exposure therapy. Exposure treatment is when a patient is asked to repeatedly recall the traumatic events that they experienced.

This type of therapy is using methodical desensitization, in which exposing the client to their flashback a little at a time and set it with positive ideas. In arguing this claim, Butler, author of Researching PTSD: The Biology of Fear asserts” The handful of result research studies of PTSD thereapy recommends that direct exposure works when paired with some form of new learning, such as an understanding that one was not to blame for the tragedy or that the world is not always as dangerous as it was then” (1996 ). Lots of soldiers will experience flashback like the ones that Bowker experienced and it would be smart for them to look for assistance from direct exposure therapy as it could enlighten their invasive memories.

Moreover, soldiers that are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD and do not get assist will frequently end up in a terrible event. For instance, Ted, from the short article The Emotional Injuries of War by Robert and Dana Saperstein, dedicated suicide two years after returning from war. This terrible event not just ended his career but in addition to numerous things that he treasured and individuals that care for him. Ted’s tragedy would’ve not taken place if there was some sort of therapy readily available, like direct exposure therapy. Tragedy like this is not unusual for soldiers with PTSD, similar to Ted, Bowker likewise took his life twenty years after the war due to the fact that he merely might not bear the emotional stress and the flashback that he experienced.

In “Notes”, O’Brien discusses the events that lead to Bowker’s death. He explains that Bowker had some “problems of discovering a meaningful usage for his life after the war” (O’Brien __). O’Brien likewise says that, the letters he received from Bowker likewise haunted him for months. Fortunately, O’Brien discovered a way to deal with it by writing stories and admits his thoughts in the book. Unfortunately, for Ted and Bowker, the outcome was a terrible, if just there were treatments around to help, and after that things would’ve been better. Many people undervalue the effectiveness of such treatments and in this case it could’ve helped Ted and Bowker to have a much better future instead of those disasters.

Quite like Bowker and Ted, O’Brien likewise experienced flashback of traumatic events. During his task in Vietnam, he witnessed a fellow soldier’s death and he explains it in the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story” in a very interesting method. O’Brien describes the landmine that his good friend, Curt Lemons actions on resembles a “bright sunshine” (O’Brien 1990) and that it bring him up into the air. Not just O’Brien has appropriate memory of this however the way that he explains it suggest that the memory has actually not been processed yet and therefore keeps coming back in his conscious. “The invasive thoughts or flashbacks related to extreme PTSD are, in the easiest terms, unprocessed info” says Steinbach (2005 ).

Steinbach 2005) likewise mentions the fact that these unprocessed details needs to be treated by using Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment (EDMR). EDMR is a treatment where the patient is asked to recall and relive the invasive flashbacks on the other hand the therapist will move their finger left to right like a windshield wiper and the patient has to follow the finger with their eyes. This treatment is intended to agitate the memories and associate it with serene emotions. EMDR is presently a preferred type of treatment for PTSD and it is motivated to be utilized on clients with PTSD. In the post EMDR Treatment: Less Than Satisfies The Eye? By Scott O.

Lilienfeld, where he discusses the popularity of EDMR treatment and how it is extremely reliable for dealing with PTSD “EDMR has actually been announced by its advocates as an extremely efficient and effective treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related stress and anxiety conditions” (1996 ). This supports the use of EDMR as a treatment of PTSD for the soldiers as it is extremely efficient and time effective. Identical to O’Brien and other characters in “The important things They Brought”, Yoav, a Lebanon war veteran relives the flashback of the dreadful occasion that eliminated his good friend. Take legal action against Fishkoff, author of the article When the Nightmares Never Stop, speak about Yoav’s flashback and the treatments that he received (1992 ).

In the short article, she describes many of the treatments that were utilized to treat Yoav’s PTSD including using “cassettes, earphones and electrodes to rid post-traumatic stress disorder clients of debilitating memories” (1992 ). A lot of the treatments were not really reliable and very lengthy as specified in the article (1992 ). In addition, Zohar, chairman of the psychiatry division of the healthcare facility includes “‘We [at Sheba Healthcare facility] feel that PTSD patients need psychotherapy”‘ (Fishkoff 1992). This suggests for using psychotherapy such as EMDR which is less lengthy and really reliable. Yoav could’ve been much better off with EMDR treatment as a treatment due to the fact that there are proof that EMDR is one of the best treatments for PTSD.

Many soldiers in the book like Jensen, Bowker and O’Brien could truly take advantage of EMDR therapy as it will match their memories with pleasant and serene feeling. Lots of proof of modern-day PTSD are exhibit by the characters in The Things They Brought. Accordingly, brand-new and enhanced treatments like CBT, direct exposure therapy, and EMDR treatment need to be put in place to better reward soldiers with PTSD. Likewise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy might assist many to be knowledgeable about their thoughts and for that reason thinking about it in a positive method. Additionally, direct exposure therapy is a terrific method for soldiers with PTSD to be exposed to their intrusive flashbacks and minimize its impacts by combining it with positive thoughts.

As equally crucial, EMDR has a really success rate with clients with PTSD as it might help the soldiers on the roadway to recovery. Jensen’s and Riley’s violence could’ve been prevented with the aid of CBT. When it comes to Bowker and Ted, their catastrophes might not have occurred if they would have looked for exposure therapy due to the fact that it will assist them to think in a more favorable method. Furthermore, EMDR is the answer to many unprocessed details that triggers terrible flashbacks that have actually affected O’Brien and Yoav. If cognitive behavioral therapy, direct exposure treatment, and EMDR therapy are utilized as a main treatment for PTSD then there will be less suicidal soldiers, a reduction in violence amongst soldiers and a boost in positive ideas for the soldiers.

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