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War and its Effect on Society Essay

The Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines war as a state of open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations. If you ask anybody that has served in any type of warfare, you’ll get a variety of answers, albeit none as sweet and simple as the one given in a dictionary. Even those that have never come close to the front line, such as the women and children back at home, have their own tales to tell. War has a profound effect on everyone, regardless of race, gender, or age.

When hearing the statistics of a war, you learn how many are dead, injured, captured, and starving. The physical ramifications as a result of being in combat can range from a nick and a few scratches, losing a limb, or even losing a life. Time tends to heal these injuries. The psychological effects of war on the other hand are trickier to deal with. Most veterans that return home after fighting in war have no major readjustment problems. It is not so easy for a small percentage of soldiers that suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to readjust. In fact the symptoms can remain for years after the experience of being in combat.

There are some characteristics of this disorder: feelings of helplessness, nightmares and or flashbacks, a separation or isolation from other people, lack of interest in activities that were at one time a favorite thing to do, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, phobic reactions, feelings of guilt, forgetfulness, headaches, and bouts of anger. An event that is outside the range of the human experience, re-experiencing the event, avoidance of certain things, and heightening of energy are in a nutshell, with other factors, how this disorder is recognized.

Often the veterans put off getting help due to guilt of having survived or not being able to trust the doctors. Then they try self-treatment, which usually means the use of a foreign substance of some kind. The most used and seemingly preferred method is alcohol. Other substance abuses include drugs such as heroine, cocaine, and tobacco. The person may also have problems with following information that focuses on the way they live, what they eat, or the medications they might have to take.

Before the Vietnam War society had a positive outlook on war. Sure, husbands and brothers were dying, but it was all in the name of the great U.S of A. With the Vietnam War came the distrust of authority, the very same people that were sending kids away to die. The media portrayed the Vietnam War protesters negatively and Hollywood glorifies war. The media is addicted to violence and the public enjoys exciting scenes.

Movies about war up until the late Vietnam movies tend to glorify war by showing America as strong and as superior. They focus on us being the good guys and don’t show how much of an impact it has on one’s mental attitude. Movies made before Vietnam and even some of the early Vietnam movies constantly reinforce the idea that our enemy is bad and that America is strong and indestructible.

Awareness of our history and veterans is important and learning about our past will help us understand what is going on in the world today. We need to show compassion and acknowledge the experience that veterans go through. Media and movies influence people’s opinions about certain events. Movies about war don’t show the post-traumatic stress it has on one. War is very powerful and many are influenced by it and it should not be glorified. Those who fought for this country need to be held in highest regard. People need to realize that everything you see in war movies isn’t always accurate. The effects of war change a person and some have hardships dealing with them.


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