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Yeli Garcia
Toth
Health Services
17 December 2015

A Comparison of Short and Long Term Behavioral Effects on PTSD in Soldiers and Civilians
It is very common to see PTSD(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in soldiers when
returning from war, but it's also seen in civilians who have been faced with a traumatic event(s)
in their lives. Unfortunately, a vast majority of people tend to think that soldiers are the only
people who've experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In particular, a percentage of people
going through PTSD range from kids/teens to refugees in Syria. A variety of short and long term
effects can vary on the person and how much they've experienced from their traumatic event. In
addition, the way PTSD affects the soldiers and civilians are different when it comes to their
behaviors. In the end, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can have either a minor or huge impact on
soldiers and civilians lives and it's important to know how to compare the two with being able to
fully understand the situation these people are in.
Naturally, a number of people in the U.S. suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,
commonly known from drastic event(s) from being deployed into war. In fact, from watching
movies that have to do with war, of course people are always going to believe that being
deployed into the war is automatically an example that you'll have a high percentage of getting
PTSD when you come back. In their article, Journal of Law,
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Medicine & Ethics, both Bethany C. Washington and Peter W. Tuerk maintains that, “Since 2001
over 2.5 million troops have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, many whom have
experienced direct combat and sustained threat. Estimates of PTSD rates related to these wars
range from 8% to over 20%, or 192,000 to 480,000 individuals.” Basically, Washington and
Tuerk are saying because of the soldiers being in or have experienced so much danger that only a
fraction of them are facing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For them to experiencing PTSD, it
causes the soldiers to have flashbacks of the memories and changes their brain’s structure and
alters the way it's functionalities. For this, it can be hard for the soldiers to figure out what is
really going on and can cause harm to their families. Unfortunately, there were a number of
soldiers who were told to answer a questionnaire and only had a mild brain injuries that had
PTSD and Miriam E. Tucker explains it more when she states, “A total of 2,714 soldiers
completed the questionnaire… 149 for missing data and 40 with head injuries that did not
involve loss of consciousness or altered mental status, the study group comprised 2,525 soldiers.
Of those, 5% (124) reported an injury with loss of consciousness… another 10% (260) reported
an injury with altered mental stares in which they did not lose consciousness… another 17%
(435) reported no loss of consciousness or altered mental status, but from a fall or injury during
training.” In other words, Tucker believes soldiers who have experienced a minor brain injury
could also be going through

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder instead of those who had faced severe traumatic event(s)
while/after being deployed into war. Therefore, any form of event that has
caused a soldier to lose consciousness or not, mild or severe injury, direct combat or training
could be experiencing PTSD and should get the treatment they need.
Despite the fact that soldiers have a high percentage of experiencing Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder, civilians also tend to be impacted by event(s) from the past that they still carry
on with themselves. Civilians can be experiencing PTSD from natural disasters, serious
accidents, life-threatening illnesses, physical abuse, and sexual assault during childhood or
adulthood. According to Natalie Gay and David Yusko, “The prevalence of trauma exposure is
above 50 percent for both men and women in the United States. In fact, 61 percent of men and
51 percent of women have experienced at least one trauma during their lifetime. Fortunately,
only 8.1 percent of men and 20.4 percent of women who experience a trauma go on to develop
PTSD.” In other words, Gay and Yusko believe that soldiers aren't the only ones who suffer
through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and everyone who experiences this could have been
from at one point in their lifetime. Unfortunately from reading this article, there is a higher
percentage of women who tend to develop PTSD than men. The article, Civilians also suffer
with PTSD, explains how there is an enormous number of U.S. Americans who developed PTSD
and Sue Vorenburg complicates matters further when she writes that, “About 5.2 million adults in
the United States suffer from PTSD at any

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given time, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what the illness is and what segments of
the population are afflicted with it.” Vorenberg is basically saying that out of
those people, they all have different reasons on why they have developed PTSD and where. I
agree with the three authors that there are an extent onto who’s experiencing Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder and us as Americans have to see that soldiers are not the only ones who suffer
with it. These conclusions have significant implications for common civilians could also
experience as much PTSD as well as soldiers.
After all, both soldiers and civilians experience traumatic event(s), as well as short and
long term effects from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A number of articles give descriptions of
what PTSD effects on your brain, but Miriam E. Tucker implies that, “The strong associations
between mild traumatic brain injury, PTSD, depression, and physical health symptoms in combat
veterans reinforce the need for a multidisciplinary approach centered in primary care.” In this
text, Tucker is saying that a lot of veterans can become depressed and health symptoms due to
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Viatcheslav Wlassoff insists, “The physical scars heal, but some
emotional wounds stop the lives of these people dead in their tracks. They are afraid to get close
to people or form new relationships. Change terrifies them, and they remain forever hesitant to
express their needs or give vent to their creative potential… PTSD is painful and frightening.
The memories of event linger and victims often have vivid flashbacks. Frightened and
traumatized, they are almost always on edge and the slightest of cues

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sends them hurtling back inside their protective shells.” Wlassoff later in the article explains,
“PTSD patients with reduced hippocampal volumes lose the ability to discriminate between past

and present experiences or interpret environmental contexts correctly. Their particular neural
mechanisms trigger extreme stress responses when confronted with environmental situations that
only remotely resemble something from their traumatic past. This is why a sexual assault victim
is terrified of parking lots because she was once rapped in a similar place. A war veteran still
cannot watch violent movies because they remind him of his trench days; his hippocampus
cannot minimize the interference of past memories.” The author, Wlassoff, is basically saying
that due to the traumatizing event(s) civilians and soldiers both are impacted by the long and
short term effects which forces them to cut themselves off from their loved ones. The way the
brain is changed dramatically from PTSD, from being able to do something without having to
worry to not being able to anything that reminds you of that memory. The effects of PostTraumatic Stress Disorder matters because it changes your brain increases the likelihood of a
person developing other psychotic and mood disorders.
Being able to understand how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder alters the brain is critical to
truly find solutions and treatments that can help them to live fully. A vast majority of people
tend to think that soldiers are the only people who've experienced Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. In particular, a percentage of people going through PTSD range from kids/teens to
refugees in Syria. A variety of short and long term

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effects can vary on the person and how much they've experienced from their traumatic event. In
addition, the way PTSD affects the soldiers and civilians are different when it comes to their
behaviors. In America people tend to overlook civilians with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

because society and the media tends to overemphasize war time trauma over traumatic events
that happen to the average person.

Works Cited
"Study Probes Causes of Anger in Returning U.S. Soldiers; PTSD, combat experience
and family history can all play roles, study finds.." 17 Jan. 2015. Web. 10 June
2010.
Tucker, Miriam E. "PTSD common in soldiers with mild brain injury.." 15 Feb. 2008.
Web. 17 Jan. 2016.
Vorenberg, Sue. "Civilians also struggle with PTSD." 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Wangelin, Bethany C, and Peter W. Tuerk. "PTSD in active combat soldiers: to treat or
not to treat.." 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.
Wlassoff, Viatcheslav. "How Does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Change the Brain?."
24 Jan. 2015. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.
Yusko, David, and Gay Natalie. "Post-traumatic stress disorder in civilians." 16 Oct.
2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.