Are Young Recruits More Vulnerable to PTSD?

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In Britain, people as young as sixteen can be recruited into the military. Because most westernized countries require recruits to be a little older than this, British soldiers provide a unique opportunity to observe the effects of early recruitment on mental health.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety condition which involves significant emotional distress in the aftermath a negative event. People with PTSD often experience nightmares, flashbacks of the traumatic incident, physical complaints (headaches, stomach pain, back pain), and an increased sensitivity to loud noises or objects that bring back memories of the trauma.

Some people may develop PTSD after surviving a natural disaster or an assault. Others may find loss of a loved one, divorce or a battle with illness traumatic enough to develop PTSD. However, not everyone who experiences these challenges will necessarily go on to have PTSD.

PTSD can be a serious threat to mental and emotional well-being in people who have been involved in war. This is why people who have served in the military are considered to be high-risk for PTSD.

Questions are now arising about whether Britain’s policy of allowing people under age eighteen to join the military is acceptable. Some people have concerns that those under eighteen may not be emotionally mature enough to make the decision to join the military (because they don’t always understand the risks and realities of combat).

If you want to read more about PTSD in young soldier, you can read an article with more information here:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/28/young-british-army-ptsd-suicide-soldiers

Photo Credit: SeptemberRayne (Much work. No time!) via Compfight cc

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