The Effects Of Vietnam On Its Veterans

Essay, Research Paper

The Effects of the Vietnam War on its Veterans

Thesis: The Vietnam War took many tolls on its soldiers ; now the veterans have to cover

with medical jobs like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) , terrible drug and

intoxicant dependences, and the effects of Agent Orange.

I. Introduction

II. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

III. Drug and Alcohol Addictions

A. Alcohol

B. Marijuana

C. Heroin

IV. Agent Orange

A. Background Information

B. Diseases of

The Effects of the Vietnam War on its Veterans.

Have you of all time seen a homeless adult male kiping in the street and hurriedly reason that he is at the underside of society? I bet that you ne’er stopped to believe about where that individual has come from. He could hold been merely like you at one clip, 19 old ages old, merely out of high school, ready to get down his life, but so he was drafted. Harmonizing to the National Coalition for the Homeless at least one tierce of homeless males are veterans ( Shay 178 ) . A big sum of veterans have terrible jobs in mundane society. Many veterans have to cover with physical wellness conditions every bit good as mental wellness jobs. The Vietnam War took many tolls on its soldiers ; now the veterans have to cover with medical like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) , terrible drug and intoxicant dependences, and the effects of Agent Orange.

Possibly one of the most annihilating side effects of contending a war is the sum of emphasis that is put on the soldiers. This is because of a mental wellness job called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) . PTSD is a status that is caused by an tremendous sum of emphasis that is put on an single. Post-Vietnam syndrome is another name for PTSD and the two are even more by and large known as war neuroticism ( Scott 28 ) . War neuroticism has been recognized as a medical status from a clip dating back to the civil war ( Scott 28 ) .

PTSD sets in anyplace from nine to thirty months after the overpowering traumatic event ( Scott 43 ) . The event in which causes this upset is non ever a combat state of affairs, but can besides be from something like a colza or an onslaught. However

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combat is one of the most traumatizing events that can go on to a individual. The manner this upset happens is when a individual experiences a traumatic event and if they can non manage the state of affairs their senses and get bying mechanisms are overloaded ( Danitz 1 ) .

One of the affects of PTSD is that the veterans have problem with relationships because of their numbed emotions ( Dantiz 1 ) . This is done so that they will experience protected. Since this is done the horrifying and painful memories do non trouble oneself them. Peoples enduring from PTSD besides complain of incubuss, insomnia, and ever experiencing on border

( Danitz 1-2 ) .

Some of the other feelings that besides go along with PTSD are guilt, fury, disaffection, and the general feeling of being a whipping boy ( Scott 43 ) . Since everyone in the US was against the war they had bad feelings towards the soldiers. The soldiers were off contending and when they came place ; everybody blamed them for the war. This in bend made them full of guilt and fury. Some felt guilty for what they had merely done and others were highly huffy that the people felt this manner. These feelings were besides because of the soldiers inability to sorrow in the combat zone ( Scott 43 ) .

Another ground why the Vietnam War was so emotionally unsmooth on its soldiers is because the work forces were so immature. The mean age of the US soldier in the Vietnam War was 19 ( Danitz 3 ) . In add-on when they returned place, they were frequently entirely for plane drive that took about 36 hours. Plus when they returned many people rejected them doing them experience stray ( Danitz 2-3 ) . For person at such a immature age to travel through something like this, is a really difficult thing to make.

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This mental wellness upset led to another harmful job for the veterans of the Vietnam War. In 1991, harmonizing to the Journal of Traumatic Stress, 90 per centum of veterans who requested intervention for PTSD were diagnosed as being alcohol dependant ( Danitz 1 ) .

There are many grounds why soldiers of this war chose to imbibe and utilize drugs. One of the grounds the soldiers would imbibe is to conceal their emotions. They would imbibe to acquire rummy to conceal the simple fact that the deceases of fellow soldiers were trouble oneselfing them ( Danitz 2 ) . In world utilizing intoxicant really reduced their ability to get by with what was traveling on around them ( Danitz 2 ) .

Many veterans would besides utilize intoxicant as a medicine. They would merely utilize it to ease their heads and loosen them up a little. Harmonizing to Terry Keane, soldiers would imbibe a H2O glass full of Bourbon at dark in so that they could fall asleep ( Danitz 3 ) .

They would besides utilize drugs alternatively of intoxicant for the same ground. Marijuana was originally the drug of pick. In Indochina marihuana was locally grown, therefore it was readily available ( Helmer 75 ) . In 1969 caput military functionaries ordered a crackdown on the soldiers use of marihuana ( Helmer 75 ) . Marijuana was non an easy drug to conceal. It had a distinguishable odor that gave it off. Soldiers began to experiment and establish other drugs to utilize.

With the prohibition on marihuana diacetylmorphine was one of the drugs that became highly popular. Heroin was both easy to utilize and hide. It was odourless and easy to utilize.

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Heroin rapidly became readily available. Would soldiers who now began to utilize diacetylmorphines have done so without the crackdown? The reply is no. ( Helmer 77 ) .

In June of 1971 the authorities did something else that could hold hurt the soldiers mentally. In order to go forth Vietnam soldiers would hold to go through a drug trial ( Helmer 80 ) . If a soldier did non go through their trial they had to stay in Vietnam and under travel intervention. As if this wasn T bad plenty, doing person that is holding a unsmooth clip in the war stay longer, the trials were highly inaccurate. Many soldiers failed who should hold passed and vice-versa. This trial policy put more emphasis on the soldiers.


of the largest causes of physical wellness jobs among Vietnam Veterans was due to a chemical called Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a weedkiller that was used during the Vietnam War. This weedkiller was made chiefly of a dioxin called Tetrachlorodibenzo ( TCDD ) . TCDD is, possibly the most damaging and detrimental chemical of all time produced ( Moore 2 ) . This dioxin is known to do a figure of diseases in lab animate beings, many of which are fatal ( Lewis 1 ) . The short-run consequence of Agent Orange was such a great trade of aid for the soldiers of the war in Vietnam that it was known as every soldier s friend. It cleared the dense floors of the jungles exposing the enemy and snipers that laid along riversides waiting for soldiers to walk into their traps were driven out ( Blankenship 1 ) . It besides destroyed the nutrient supply for the Vietnamese. This chemical was developed during the Second World War to destruct Japan s rice harvests, but was non used being called flagitious.

In 1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy made possibly the worst determination refering the Vietnam War ; he ordered the usage of Agent Orange ( Moore 1 ) . This started the testing of

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Agent Orange in Vietnam. In 1967 and 68 Agent Orange was used on a regular footing in big measures. When the authorities saw the harmful effects of the weedkiller its usage was diminished and so finally discontinued in 1971.

In 1977 veterans foremost started doing claims that Agent Orange was the cause of their unwellness or disablement. These claims that were made started Maude DeVictor, a VA social worker, to get down making some research. She collected approximately two twelve files when her foreman told her to halt this informal probe. This caused her to turn all of her files over to a newsman. After making farther research, the newsman concluded with a docudrama that received national attending ( Scott 87-88 ) . This started a snowball consequence of Agent Orange claims. A commission was so formed specifically to cover with the claims that dealt with weedkillers. They were told to manage instances politely but without understanding that Agent Orange might hold caused these wellness jobs. Agent Orange has caused many wellness jobs for the veterans and their households, including Spina Bifida, Soft Tissue Sarcoma, Hodgkin s Disease, Prostate Cancer, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda ( PCT ) , Respiratory Cancer, and Chloracne to call a few. There are many factors that come in to play when seeking to find the cause of an Agent Orange related unwellness.

One ground that it is so difficult to find if a wellness job was caused by Agent Orange was because there are about two and a half million veterans ( Lewis 2 ) . It is highly hard to find who had contact with the weedkiller. Besides, what is contact considered? Direct contact, being sprayed with it or physically touching it, or cloging it through the nutrient and H2O ironss ( Lewis 2 ) .

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Another ground why it was difficult to associate Agent Orange to these diseases is that they did non re-emerge instantly. The diseases that were caused could take twenty old ages or more for them to look ( Lewis 2 ) . In that long period of clip other factors could hold caused the disease.

One of the largest wellness affects of Agent Orange did non straight affect the veteran. However, in the eyes of some, it hurt person a batch more of import ; it hurt their kids. A big figure of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange produced kids who had Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is a inborn cleft of the vertebral column with hernial bulge of the meninxs ( membrane that envelopes the encephalon and spinal ) ( Blankenship 1 ) .

Soft Tissue Sarcoma is a rare signifier of malignant neoplastic disease that arises merely 2 instances per one hundred 1000 ( Agent Orange Debrief 1 ) . Soft Tissue Sarcoma, besides referred to as Sarcoma, is malignant tumour that forms in the tissues of the organic structure. When formed it spreads throughout the organic structure chiefly to other variety meats.

Yet another malignant neoplastic disease caused due to Agent Orange is that of the prostate. A malignant growing signifiers on the outer country of the prostate secretory organ ( Agent Orange Debrief 1 ) . Since the primary cause of prostate malignant neoplastic disease is non cognize, how can it be proved that Agent Orange is linked to it, this made it even harder. Hodgkin s disease is another disease that is caused by Agent Orange, but once more the exact cause is unknown doing it hard to associate the two together.

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Agent Orange does do many wellness jobs. The chemical did assist the soldiers but it is now back to stalk them. The soldiers friend turned into the veterans enemy. ( Blankenship 1 ) .

The Vietnam War has had a big impact on how its veterans are forced to populate life. Because of this, war there are many veterans who suffer with medical jobs runing from drug and intoxicant maltreatment to the really difficult PTSD, non to advert Agent Orange. Overall the Vietnam War had left a really big negative feeling on the work forces who served in it. For many, the war was non over when they left Vietnam, it had merely begun.

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Plants Cited

Agent Orange Debrief. Online. Available. Accessed 16

February 1999.

Blankenship, Janice. Populating with the Legacy of Agent Orange. Veterans of Foreign

Wars Magazine. Aug. 1998: 20-22.

Dantiz, Tiffany. Submerging the Demons of War. Insight on the News. 3 March 1997:

14. InfoTrac, Expanded Academic ASAP. Online. Forest City, CA: Information Access Co. , 1999. Accessed 2 February 1999.

Helmer, John. Bringing the War Home: The American Soldier in Vietnam and After.

New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1974.

Lewis, William. Some Facts about Agent Orange/Dioxin. New Jersey Agent Orange

Commission. Online. Available Accessed 7 February 1999.

Moore, Gary D. Agent Orange Talking Paper # 1 Michigan Agent Orange

Commission. Online. Accessed 7 February 1999.

Shay, Jonathan. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.

New York: Scribner Publishing, 1994.

Scott, Wilbur J. The Politics of Readjustment: Vietnam Veterans Since the War. New

York: Aldine De Gruyter Publishing, 1993.

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