Difficulties Of Combat Soldiers Integrating Back Into Civilian Life

1728 words - 7 pages

Difficulties Of Combat Soldiers Integrating Back Into Civilian Life

Authors Note: This paper was written with the intent of better understanding the difficulties that soldiers face when coming home from war. It is with personal interests that I research, write, and inform of this topic.

Combat soldiers have a difficult time integrating back into civilian life (“normal” society). This starts long before they go to war. When becoming a soldier, the individual is stripped down and then rebuilt as one. Individuality and free thinking are not acceptable in the military. The group (the squad, brigade, branch of the military), is to function as one under the same rules and ...view middle of the document...

Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or unnatural disasters, accidents, or military combat (Psychology Today, 2010).

Difficulties Of Combat Soldiers Integrating Back Into Civilian Life

Breaking Down The Individual
Deciding to join the military is a decision to give up your individuality. Soldiers are no longer one person, but a team. They wear the same uniform, live by governing rules and regulations, learn when to eat/sleep/drink, have specific workout regulations, and are even told what they should keep their weight at. There are many other aspects of being a soldier, these are just a few.
“If you don’t understand how a drill sergeant needs to break your civilian habits down and build you back up into an intimidating fighting force in just a few weeks, you will not have a good time at basic training” (Volkin, 2005).
It is through this breakdown that a soldier emerges to protect and defend our country with his/her brothers and sisters. They learn that they work together for the same cause. They are not one, but a unit that works as one. This forms a special bond that allows an unbreakable trust. Through this trust, we are successful at wartime.
Unfortunately, the effects of this can be devastating when the service member de-activates and re-enters the civilian world. The world that they have grown to know, one where they were told how to dress, how to act, and even how to say things is no longer there. The civilian world is for free thinkers, there is no how-to -book, there is no one telling you that you have to wear certain clothing or cut your hair a certain way. The workforce is the same way, you do have a job with requirements to fill, however it is up to the individual the best way to get that job accomplished. This can be a very confusing time for a former soldier.
Allowing a soldier time to re-adjust to his/her new surroundings is highly recommended. The soldier will need time to find themselves and their purpose in the civilian life. They will have many obstacles and many relationships that need to be rebuilt.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or unnatural disasters, accidents, or military combat” (Psychology Today, 2010).

This is the most common disorder that presents after a soldier returns home from war. The effects of PTSD can affect daily life in many ways. Soldiers with PTSD may have trouble relating to others. Sudden noises, fast movement, or flashing lights may trigger flashbacks. Other symptoms, sometimes chronic, may include: constant fatigue, depression, being easily startled, nightmares, memory loss, loss of interest in general, emotional detachment, and impulsive behaviors (Bently,...

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