A comparison of posttraumatic stress disorder symptom presentation between OEF/OIF/OND and Vietnam veterans
Newman, Sarah E.
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With soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the diagnosis and treatment of combat-related mental health issues is more important than ever. According to the Veteran's Administration National Center for PTSD, Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) Veterans are often integrated into existing PTSD treatment programs. However, it is possible that treatment programs for chronic PTSD designed for older cohorts of Veterans (Vietnam) may not best fit the treatment needs of returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in PTSD symptom presentation in Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans in a residential treatment program in Upstate New York. Using 100 (50 Vietnam, 50 OEF/OIF/OND) clinical records from the Batavia VA PTSD Residential Facility men's program as the dataset, differences in PTSD symptom presentation were examined. The current study found that OEF/OIF/OND Veterans reported higher levels of symptom distress than Vietnam Veterans on the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD. They scored significantly higher on avoidance/numbing responses and increased arousal, DSM-IV criteria C and D, respectively. More specifically, they reported higher levels of memory problems, anger problems and numbing symptoms. Vietnam Veterans did however score higher on one item, "I feel like I cannot go on." These results are not consistent with prior research. Limitations and implications for future research are also discussed.