Effects of War on Soldiers

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The very act of getting as a soldier topics an individual to a plethora of stress related complications that stems from physical, emotional, to psychological elements of a human being. Soldiers go through intensive forms of training in order to acquire the much required battlefront resilience, nevertheless, far lots of military training facilities focuses on the physical part of the hardening at the cost of mental and psychological aspects.

According to the U. S Army Chief of Infantry, Major General Paul Eaton, the American army does completely well in preparing soldiers physically however it devotes a paltry time in preparing them emotionally and mentally.

[Jeffrey et al, 2004] This results to very physically skilled soldiers but psychological and emotional infants who can not endure severe psychological and psychological difficulties. Soldiers and medical officers get through very scary circumstances that may leave them physically, mentally or mentally scarred.

A few of the typical skilled impacts of war apart from death and loss of body parts are feelings of detachment, irritation, sleeplessness, loss of concentration, and night mares, which arise from constant direct exposure to horrifying and traumatic experiences that are common in battlefields.

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[Associated Press, June 30, 2004] A soldier in combat goes through many mortification, amongst which might be unending months and years of exposure to desert heat, scorching jungle, hammering rains, ice-covered mount tops and tundra conditions among many other dehumanizing climate condition.

Very typically soldiers goes without sufficient food and sleep and even worse still faces consistent uncertainty that gradually uses and tears a soldier’s sense of control over their lives and their environment.

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[Grossman, 1999] The extinction of beloved and intimate fellows in battle fields results in great scary and it normally causes terrific severance of the psychological injury which like a physical one is perhaps deadly. These psychological injuries like the physical ones in some cases heals but might ache or perhaps shrink when exposed to serious or irritating touches.

Combatants of war continue to nurse such emotional wounds and it reaches times when the wounds can not hold on to any more of the irritating touches, at these points a combatant nervous system breaks and therefore he or she becomes a psychiatric casualty. [Associated Press, June 30, 2004] According to Richard Gabriel nations normally counts the cost of war in terms of dollars, lost production, number of soldiers killed or wounded soldiers, but rarely do they make efforts of measuring the costs incurred in the war in terms of individual suffering.

According to him one of the major effects of war that has established itself in post 20th century warfare is psychiatric breakdown, unfortunately it has continued to receive a paltry attention despite it being the most costly item of war when put in human terms. He asserts that in virtually every major battle fought the probability of getting a psychiatric casualty is high than even getting killed by enemy fire. [Grossman, 1999]

During the World War II for instance, America lost over 500,000 combatants as a result of psychiatric collapse, a large force enough to man 50 divisions, this happened despite intensified efforts to weed out those who were perceived to be emotionally unfit for combat. At one point in World War II, psychiatric casualties were being discharged from the American army at a faster rate than new recruits were being engaged in.

A study done by Swank and Marchand about World War II on US Army combatants indicated that after a period of 60 days in constant battle atmosphere on the beaches of Normandy, 98 % of the surviving soldiers had become psychiatric casualties, while the remaining 2 % experienced what was termed as “aggressive psychopathic personalities. ” [Grossman, 1999] These findings points to the fact that continuous exposure to extreme battle conditions is equally worse and can cause death as enemy fire does.

Nevertheless, this kind of unending, protracted warfare that produces a high turnover of psychiatric casualty numbers is largely associated to the military and technological advancements of the 20th century. The unending war experiences were witnessed for the first time during the World War I and as a result large numbers of psychiatric casualties were reported. For instance the battle of Waterloo only lasted for a single day, while the Gettysburg battle took only three days with nights spend for resting.

[Grossman, 1999] According to a study carried out and published in New England Journal of Medicine, large number of the more than 6,000 U. S soldiers from different departments of the army studied was found to be suffering from post –traumatic stress disorders. The survey was conducted to them before leaving for Iraq, after six months in Afghanistan and lastly after eight months in Iraq, the survey was repeated again three months after returning back home.

The returnees showed rife symptoms of major depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). The study indicated a16-17% of those soldiers who served in Iraq and 11% of those who served in Afghanistan as suffering from PTSD complications, this is tangible evidence that war leads to great suffering and death among the soldiers. The Iraq war for instance, was one of the fiercest with a lot of firefights and all sort of attacks than those in Afghanistan and hence the high number of victims.

Other studies done after the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars indicated a 15% PTSD for Vietnam veterans and 2 to 10% to Gulf War veterans. [Associated Press, June 30, 2004] During the US-Vietnam war in 1992, US undertook a military expedition known as Operation Ranch Hand that involved the spraying of herbicides from US air force aircrafts to clear vegetation and expose enemy soldiers. Some of the herbicides used were very strong and slight exposure to them led to long term effects.

Many soldiers and nurses have been reported to suffer from ailments that are associated to exposure to Agent Orange, Green, Purple, and White as the chemicals were popularly referred to, the case of nurse Chris B. , RVN is an example of more than 100 nurses who have been taken ill with diseases that eats into their organs and joints. [Killology, 2008] Too long time spend in combatant situations denies soldiers a chance to be with family members, this may negatively affect their relationships with their spouses and children.

A soldier who is involved in outside borders offensives may take a couple of years without communicating with their loved ones. Such situations may lead to family break ups or infidelity, children’s born of soldier parents may also indulge in bad behaviors as a result of lack of proper parental attention and love.


• “Killology”, available at; http://killology. com/article_psychological. htm, accessed on January 24, 2009 • Associated Press, June 30, 2004; 1 in 8 returning soldiers suffers from PTSD, accessed on January 24, 2009

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Effects of War on Soldiers. (2017, Jan 20). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/effects-of-war-on-soldiers-essay

Effects of War on Soldiers
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