Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Military Returnees From Afghanistan and Iraq

National Center for PTSD, VA Medical Center, 215 North Main St., White River Junction, VT 05009, USA.
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 12.3). 05/2006; 163(4):586-93. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.163.4.586
Source: PubMed


Mr. K, a 38-year-old National Guard sol- dier, was assessed in an outpatient psy- chiatric clinic several months after he re- turned home from a 12-month deployment to the Sunni Triangle in Iraq, where he had his first exposure to com- bat in his 10 years of National Guard duty. Before deployment, he worked suc- cessfully as an automobile salesman, was a happily married father with children ages 10 and 12 years, and was socially outgoing with a large circle of friends and active in civic and church activities. While in Iraq, he had extensive combat exposure. His platoon was heavily shelled and was ambushed on many occasions, often resulting in death or injury to his buddies. He was a passenger on patrols and convoys in which roadside bombs destroyed vehicles and wounded or killed people with whom he had become close. He was aware that he had killed a number of enemy combatants, and he feared that he may also have been re- sponsible for the deaths of civilian by- standers. He blamed himself for being unable to prevent the death of his best friend, who was shot by a sniper. When asked about the worst moment during his deployment, he readily stated that it occurred when he was unable to inter- cede, but only to watch helplessly, while a small group of Iraqi women and chil- dren were killed in the crossfire during a particularly bloody assault.