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Emotional Aftermath of the Persian Gulf War

Veterans, Families, Communities, and Nations

Edited by Robert J. Ursano, M.D., and Ann E. Norwood, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-652-1
  • Item #8652


Emotional Aftermath of the Persian Gulf War explores the impact of war from a unique perspective—it addresses not only the effect of trauma on soldiers in combat but also the toll war takes on families and communities as a whole. In this book, experts from the Department of Defense (including Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense, who provides the preface), the Veterans Administration, the National Institute of Mental Health, Israel Defense Forces, and academia provide an integrated look at the psychiatric and psychological effects of war and the treatment of war-related stress and psychiatric disorders.

The authors focus on the experience of servicemembers and of their families in response to deployment, separation, and loss, and reintegration after the war. They discuss the treatment of combat casualties, those with and without psychiatric illness, who were rapidly returned home still in the acute stage of their injuries. The authors emphasize providing the best support, both medically and psychologically, for military personnel and their families for the essential mental health and effectiveness of the fighting force and the improved quality of life of individual people. The special needs of families and of reserve and guard members are considered, and models of community outreach programs for coping with the stressors of war are discussed.

Unique in terms of the role that technology played—including live TV coverage, Patriot missiles, and “smart” bombs—the Gulf War was a part of the day-to-day lives of the fighting forces and their families, communities, and nations.


  • Introduction.

    The Gulf War.

    Stressors of the Persian Gulf War.

    War and homecomings: the stressors of war and of returning from war. Psychiatric responses to war trauma. The effects of war and parental deployment upon children and adolescents. Chemical and biological weapons: silent agents of terror. The threat and fear of missile attack: Israelis in the Gulf War.

    Preparation for the War.

    Those left behind: military families. From citizen to soldier: mobilization of reservists. Deployment from Europe: the family perspective. Preparation for psychiatric casualties in the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical System. Deployment stress and Operation Desert Shield: preparation for the war. Family notification and survivor assistance: thinking the unthinkable.

    Treatment and Management of the Effects of War.

    The problems of listening. Return, readjustment, and reintegration: the three R’s of family reunion. The care of those returned: psychiatric illnesses of war. Psychiatric intervention with medical and surgical patients of war. The prisoner of war. From soldier to civilian: acute adjustment patterns of returned Persian Gulf veterans. Treatment of veterans severely impaired by posttraumatic stress disorder.


    The effects of war on veterans, families, communities and nations: summary. Index.

About the Authors

Robert J. Ursano, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, School of Medicine. He is Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Chair of the APA Committee on Psychiatric Aspects of Disaster, and member of the American College of Psychiatrists. Dr. Ursano has authored over 100 publications on the effects of trauma, war, and disaster.

Ann E. Norwood, M.D., is Assistant Professor and Assistant Chairperson, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, School of Medicine. She is a member of the APA Committee on Psychiatric Aspects of Disaster. She coordinated training of physicians and health care providers for returning veterans of Operation Desert Storm (ODS) and their families, served on the Department of Defense ODS ReviewCommittee. Dr. Norwood has authored numerous publications and monographs on the effects of war and disasters.

They have provided a contribution to the literature that expands our awareness of the multidimensional psychological effects of war. I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in the topic of the effects of war.—The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

[T]his book is worth buying and reading from beginning to end for any psychiatrist who has been to war or who has or will have patients affected by war.—Psychiatric Times

This readable and well-prepared book informs mental health providers but should also be of interest to those who are intrigued by the emotional impact of volatile national issues and their broader implications. In part, the sociocultural and emotional health of a nation has correlations with public policy. This unique volume succeeds in showing us the connection.—JAMA

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