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Mental Illness And Po Ws Essay

1330 words - 5 pages

Any member of the Armed Forces who is held in captivity as a POW or as a hostage is more likely to be at a higher risk of mental illness like PTSD. This assumption goes against everything that was thought to be known during WWI, it was noted time and time again that both English and German POWs were somehow immune to war neuroses and only susceptible to the newly identified barbed wire disease which is the prisoner’s reaction to his environment during prison life. Interestingly though, up until this point in history no real data or studies had been complied on the post release effects after captivity. The repatriation of POWs and the new rehabilitation programs were designed to aid Armed Forces Service members to re-adapt back into to service life or if their enlisted was up to re-adapt back in to their former civilian lives. Disorders found in POWs were often explained in terms of a prewar predisposition to mental illness. Recent studies and those even conducted on the original WWI and later studies of POWs have discovered a higher rate of PTSD among veterans.

The former POW who escaped or was released by their captors is also a veteran of war, but also a veteran of experiences totally different from their typical veteran counterparts. The POWs battle was not only one of daily survival, but also never ending battle against psychological intimidation, physical suffering, boredom, degradation, feelings of vulnerability, and sometimes depression. Also another noteworthy effect from being a POW was the “hero” recognition by the public and or Military community upon their honorable return from their capture followed by the attention they would received in the years following the return. The reintegration process back in to “normal” family life, back to work, and even society would vary from that the one experienced from the ordinary veteran. Recently many organized attempts have been made by researchers to document the immediate, mid-term, and long-term effects of the POW experience, especially since the end of WWII. The captivity POW experience is clearly distinctive in terms of the captive, the captor’s culture and beliefs, the amount of time in captivity coupled with the conditions of internment and countless other factors. However, the environment of POW captivity will combine a potent strain of consent physical hardship combined with never ending deprivation, as well as massive psychological stress and trauma which will could and will lead to some form of PTSD which may not show up for years after release. As history never lies there appears to be a uniformity in which the effects of captivity appear evenly across history from the beginning of time to the present day of how POWs are affected. Being interned in a POW camp is something that you cannot truly convey through words, but as Senator John McCain once said during a interview with the US News and World Report that “ Because in a way becoming a prisoner in North Vietnam was like being...

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