This is a day late for Memorial Day but still of interest to voters and veterans. Dr. Manan Trivedi, candidate for the 6th congressional district, was one of the authors on "Educating Military Personnel and Their Families about Post-Deployment Stress," prepared in April 2008 for the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund which is administered by the California Community Foundation, and is on the web as a RAND Health working paper (30 page pdf).
Anyone who works with returning veterans and their families should read it; those interested in the topic more generally will also find it interesting. While Paul Simon might sing about being an island, most people aren't. What they do affects their families and others around them. PTSD isn't just a problem for the soldier but for his or her family as well. There has been quite a bit of research lately on the impact of PTSD on the broader community. A research article by Rachel Dekel and Hadass Goldblatt, "Is there intergenerational transmission of trauma? The case of combat veterans' children," (American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 78 #3, 2008, 281-289), opens with this passage:
Clinical observations and empirical research have shown that the consequences of traumatic events are not limited to the persons immediately exposed to the event, and that they often affect significant others in their environment such as family, friends, and caregivers. Such effects include a variety of posttraumatic manifestations such as headaches, breathing difficulties, intrusive imagery, heightened sense of vulnerability, difficulty trusting others, and emotional numbing.
The article reviews existing studies of the subject, a scholarly snapshot of research. Given the length of the current Middle East conflict, and the number of military (and civilian contractors) exposed to combat or ambush, this is, unfortunately, a growth area.
Dr. Trivedi's team has some good recommendations.