Real-life Rambo’s Struggle with PTSD
Rambo is a term that has become synonymous with gung-ho action and a persona that has become attached to the identity of movie action star Sylvester Stallone. Today, "Rambo" is a word that is used to denote military or individual aggression. It is also used to refer to a person who is heroic and, at the same, time capable of perpetrating extreme violence.
Taken from the 1982 movie that was originally entitled First Blood, the film is about the character named John James Rambo, a member of the elite U.S. Army Green Berets. Deployed in Vietnam, he fought against the Vietcong and North Vietnamese soldiers by using guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare strategy.
Based on the novel where the screenplay was adapted from, Rambo was caught by North Vietnamese soldiers in November 1971 and was subjected to inhuman torture and abuse in one of the infamous POW camps.
Together with other American prisoners of war, Rambo suffered extreme episodes of physical torment in the hands of his captors. He experienced almost daily beatings, water torture, electrocution, and other forms of inflicting pain. After six months of "living hell", Rambo was able to escape from the POW camp.
After a period of recuperation, he was again re-deployed to Vietnam and was finally honourably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1974.
Rambo's return to civilian life was not easy. The '70s was a period of student activism that was characterized by the growth of the so-called peace movement and "flower power." During that period, the United States became divided over the issue of the Vietnam War. Many student protests centred on the claim that the Vietnam War was an unjust war and that the United States was actually committing an act of aggression.
Many soldiers and veterans like Rambo, most of whom were only drafted into the war, were subjected to protest, ridicule, and contempt. Civilian protesters saw men like Rambo as warmongers and anti-peace. But during that time, now many were aware of the depression experienced by many soldiers who had to fight in Vietnam.
They, too, were against the war but had to fulfil their duty as military servicemen. The stress and anxiety of always being under fire and not knowing if it was already their "last day" made soldiers in Vietnam oppose the war as much as the civilian protesters.
Like many Vietnam veterans, Rambo suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The novel depicts Rambo as a person who was deeply struggling with his past experiences in Vietnam. After losing his job as a mechanic, Rambo became a drifter and wandered from town to town. In the movie, Rambo got into trouble after a local sheriff imprisoned him for possession of a jungle knife.
In jail, he was again subjected to torture. The injustice he suffered under the hands of his captors made his decide to escape. The police, together with the National Guard, launched a manhunt. However, Rambo was able to elude and deter the armed troops who were sent to hunt him. He again used his Green Beret skills to survive and deter his pursuers. Later in the movie, Rambo attacked the town centre where the cruel sheriff was hiding.
To avert the further escalation of violence, Army Colonel Trautman came and persuaded Rambo to surrender to him. The colonel was Rambo's commanding officer in Vietnam.
Like the movie and the character of Rambo, thousands of Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD. Many fell on a path to self-destruction by getting hooked on drugs and committing violent acts. Others were not able to manage the guilt, frustration, anger, and rage they felt after completing their tours of duty in Vietnam. Many veterans were diagnosed with PTSD and other psychosis.
While the movie did not show that Rambo received professional help for his struggle with PTSD, in real life, many war veterans had to receive psychological or psychiatric treatment. These veterans were made to take antidepressant prescriptions in order for them to manage their symptoms of depression, guilt, rage, and other self-destructive emotions and behaviour.
For many war veterans, getting through a day with some semblance of normalcy required the use of anti-anxiety medication. Their treatment was also complemented by counselling, a process that helped them vent out their anger, frustrations, and fears.
Unlike the movie, real-life soldiers are not invincible Rambo’s who can go through life without seeking professional help in dealing with the war-time experiences, emotional struggles, and psychological burdens.
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan produced more and more soldiers who, like Rambo, have to fight and win their own internal battles.
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Trauma and Mental Health
Trauma is a result of battering, witnesses a horrible attack, enduring an accident/incident, terrorist, and so on. Anytime a person is subject to violence, it brings forth trauma, whether it is in small doses or extreme doses.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorders (war shock) was only linked to combat, but recently mental health experts are finding that more individuals are subject to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Generally, people that suffer Multiple Personality Disorder often have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder underneath.
It is often difficult to detect this since people with Multiple Personality Disorder alters or changes personalities. Some of the personality types may not illustrate any symptoms of mental illness, while others may illustrate extreme symptoms.
Most patients with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) were subject to extreme abuse as a child, which means these people suffered severe trauma from the get-go. Now, the people that do not have Multiple Personality would have to undergo traumatic experiences or witness traumatic attacks.
It depends on the mind, but some people can witness an accident and it won’t faze them, while others can witness a similar accident and it could lead them into PTSD symptoms. This type of mind is often suffering with other problems, and the problem has not been detected, while the person that was not affected probably had excellent coping skills.
Most likely, the person affected survived traumas long before this accident took place. Trauma affects us all differently and some more than others. When a person endures trauma, it is essential to get help immediately, since trauma often plays with the mind.
A person will often endure sleepless nights, nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks and so forth. The issues bring forth more complications since the nerves are tortured and the person might resort to alcohol or drugs to relieve the symptoms.
Flashbacks are common with trauma patients, and flashbacks can be dangerous since the person loses contact with the here and now. Rather the patient will go back in time to the event or one of the series of events that caused the trauma and they often stay stuck there for a few minutes or longer. If someone is around them and that person does not have understanding other complications can occur.
Patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) are often treated with various medications, including Trazadone. Trazadone is often great for relieving stress, reducing night sweats, and nightmares, as well as other symptoms of posttraumatic stress. Another great solution for trauma patients is to take Natural Herbs, including Mental Alert remedies, Multiple Vitamins, especially saturated with B-Complex, and so on.
The natural herbs are great, and if you are seated on a healthy diet this too is helpful to reduce posttraumatic stress symptoms. The more you take care of you, the more your symptoms will run the other way.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to play around with, since the symptoms are ‘combat.’ In other words, when you endure an attack, the person often feels like he or she is on a battlefield and everyone around them is the enemy.
The symptoms leave no room for concentration, understanding, and even affect the person’s ability to hear what is said to him or her.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder starts out with smaller symptoms and gradually works up to deeper symptoms if not treated. The sleepless nights alone leave the patient open for triggers. Triggers are sound, smell, voices, taste, and so forth. There are many elements in society that can trigger an episode of Posttraumatic Stress.
It is also important to minimize your entertainment habits. If possible, avoid movies that will startle, fright, or trigger your symptoms. Movies that are animated or comedies are great sources of entertainment that will spare you a posttraumatic stress attack.
You want to remember that when the nervous system is affected then so is the body and mind.
In other words, the more attacks you have from posttraumatic stress put your heart and body at risk of physical illnesses.
Finally, it is important to seek help, take care of yourself, and avoid any element in society that will trigger your symptoms, including people if necessary.
Isolation in one form is not as bad as suffering posttraumatic stress symptoms.
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