Seniors/ Vets do you think PTSD is a new concept or a fad?

Question by red10ninja: Seniors/ Vets do you think PTSD is a new concept or a fad?
My husband and I were at a restaraunt recently and an elderly man( I would say in his mid to late 80’s) was discussing with his wife and what appeared to be his daughter, the subject of PTSD. He was saying that he thought it was a crock, and that it was just an excuse for soldiers returning from war not to get a job and live off the government. He said something to the effect of “we didn’t have any problems with stress and depression back in my day after the war.” Do you think many seniors feel that way? Was it perhaps a matter of ” real men don’t cry” or share their feelings? Do you think it is more common now or about the same?
My grandfather was in a sub off the coast of Pearl Harbor when it was bombed and lost many friends and it affected him greatly though he didn’t talk about it much or go to counseling.

Best answer:

Answer by AmeliaBedelia
My dad was a POW for almost 4 yrs. during WWII. He suffered greatly. He started drinking heavily after the war and he carried so many bad memories with him that it affected the rest of his life. PTSD is real and it’s about time they did something to alleviate the burden of carrying that around.

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9 thoughts on “Seniors/ Vets do you think PTSD is a new concept or a fad?”

  1. Hm, it was a personal point of view. We ought to know what position in the war he occupied and how emotional he is. If he were close to the front, and less cold-hearted he would be more prone to feel such a disease.

    Adds to it the fact that some people are hard-wired cold, while others are hard-wired warmer, and that’s a response from their childhood/raising days, not the academy’s trainings.

    Also the fact that anxiety is a thing that runs down in families.

  2. It has always been with us, We just change its name. In WWI it was called Shell Shock. In WWII
    it was called Combat Stress Syndrome. I’m sure
    the ancient Greeks and Romans had a name for
    it too.

  3. To some respect there is a real schism between the WW2 vets and all later ones – the WW2 vets fail to consider WW2 was a declared war the whole country was behind them where all the wars we have been in since then have been undeclared wars – further they fought a uniformed enemy and there were battle lines except for Korea this has not been the case in all the other recent wars. I would contend it’s far more insidious not knowing just who the enemy really is pot shots – road side bombs puts a huge and constant strain on all military personal – just wearing the uniform makes you and obvious target.

  4. Yes it is a big factor PTSD . I went through it in Vietnam I put it in the back of my mined and it stayed there for years. It all come back when the war in Afghanistan started . Did your Grand father Drink more than authors and for sure the did not want to talk about it is a sure sign of it. If you want to get more info ,go to your locale DAV. They have lots of pamphlets on it
    hope this helped you some

  5. PTSD is very real. Like everything else, there will probably be some who take advantage of the diagnosis and use it as an excuse. For many it is crippling and for those people treatment is vital.

  6. I have nursed many war veterans as I once worked at a veterans hospital and now work with senior citizens so I am bound to come across a few still.

    PTSD is a diagnosis given to a set of symptoms that are very real. However a lot of people whether they are soldiers or victims of abuse will hide their symptoms from others. I would say that eighty year old man at the restaurant has PTSD himself, however does not admit to it to himself or others. Because he has a wife and a daughter that he is able to go out to dinner with, he can keep his feelings at bay for now at least.

    One man I looked after in his home had been an architect, well respected too before he enlisted for the Vietnam war without telling is young wife and family. He only told them that he was asked to train a new batch of sailors for a few months at a base in another city. He had been in the navy previously but never sent to active duty. He did not tell them that he really had enlisted again and thought it his duty to go overseas on active duty for three months.

    When he came home he still maintained that he only went away to train younger sailors. He went back to work and continued in his successful career. However things were not good at home, he got flash backs of shooting people and seeing their bodies blown apart. His family just put his sudden rages and periods of withdrawal down to his bipolar diagnosis and working long hours. Their oldest daughter died in a car accident and subsequently their younger daughter (who I had gone to school with, I later realised) needed psychiatric care because her waring parents were unable to help her in her grief for her sister.

    Once all his children were adults he told them that he had gone to Vietnam on active duty, but he still maintained that he was asked to go and not that he volunteered. He had been that alienated from his wife both in his grief for his daughter and dealing with his flashbacks that one day his wife came home from work to find he had changed the locks on the house and left a note on the front door telling her she had to move out and that he would deliver he belongings to her when she found a place to live. He still never let on to his colleagues that he was suffering emotionally and mentally; however they knew he was a perfectionist who went into rages.

    By the time I met him he was retired and had weeping cellulitis all over his legs. He started telling me about how he had lied by omission to his wife and children and alienated himself from his siblings also. While I cleaned and dressed his weeping legs he would talk away about his regrets and things he said he had never told anyone in a bid to show others that he was a strong, dependable and upright citizen. I said to him that his swollen and weeping legs were an indication that his bottled up feelings are finally leaking out. He said I was probably right. He told me how often while sleeping at night he would wake up in a panic, having dreamt of some past war memory. When he awoke the still ‘saw’ the mutilated body of his enemy splattered across the ceiling of his room as he lay there sweating and crying.

    In more recent wars soldiers and other military personnel have been given marijuana to help them relax, this can set of mental illnesses in young susceptible people. In WW1 and WW2 it was just tobacco cigarettes that was given to the soldiers.

    Vietnam veterans were often despised and some never given an official welcome home on their return to their own countries. This also happens to returned soldiers from the Middle East today. The commercial world is very sophisticated today compared to what WW1 and WW2 soldiers initially came home to. Todays returned soldiers may find it difficult to deal with such unnecessary materialism when they have been away at war living on rations and seeing poverty in other war torn countries. A lot more people were affected by WW1 and WW2 and they came home to see many other returned soldiers in their own communities. In these present times, returned military personnel are the minority in western cities, so they are obvious and generally on their own in having others who know of what they have been through. These factors contribute to SOME of these returned military personnel who remain out of work in these present times.

  7. This man was just being ignorant. PTSD has been around since the very first war fought with sticks and stones. It was just called something different – battle fatigue, combat fatigue, shell shock, etc. It’s too bad that he thinks that, but he probably thinks that because HE went through the war with no after effects, then everyone else should have, too. My second husband served in the Vietnam era, though not in the Vietnam War – he was stationed in Germany as a military guard, and even he had some signs of PTSD. He would wake up many nights hollering at “prisoners” and would get the shakes pretty bad.

  8. When I was younger, I worked with people that were coming home from Korea. They certainly didn’t behave as normal people. One didn’t eat at tables. He always squatted in the corner and ate from bowls on the floor. He’d been a POW. Another went duck hunting. He shot his duck, then pumped it full of several more rounds as it fell. One coldly and methodically shot a boy that was harassing his little brother’s GF. He felt NO guilt from the act. Is this any different that today’s PTSD?? When my class mates came back from ‘Nam, they were a mess. These were people to be avoided. They thought nothing of engaging in violent crime. A lot of then were sent to psycho wards, until Reagan kicked them out on the streets. PTSD?? What else would you call it? “Shell shock”? I remember WWII vets that couldn’t talk about their experience. Some had tremors, and other physical manifestations. Think about how many returning WWII vets went to jail!! How many were alcoholics! No PTSD? Just a different name and different response, by the public.

    Don’t you think the elderly man’s lack of sympathy for our current vets, is itself, a manifestation of some sort of PTSD ?

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