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Possibilities for unexplained chronic illnesses among reserve units deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm

  [ 29 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • December 8, 1996


Because Armed Forces Reserve members, especially combat support
units, were rapidly mobilized during Operation Desert
Shield/Desert Storm, they were at higher risk for anxiety and
stress-related disorders. Personnel in reserve units in the
military force structure are at greater risk for psychologic
stress due to rapid mobilization and demobilization, which
allows minimal time to process adverse experiences or fears.
The unexpected disruption of families and careers and
resulting financial pressures are magnified in older age
groups who have increased personal and family commitments.
Personnel in combat support units are at greatest risk when
they lack necessary training, cohesion, and leadership.
Prevention efforts in reserve units should involve education
regarding the potential for activation and associated
disruption of family and career plans. Support networks for
reserve families should be encouraged. Additional training in
an appropriate context regarding risks of biologic and
chemical exposure, with the goal of developing confidence in
training and equipment, should be stressed. Finally, group
processing before demobilization and recall within 90 days of
return to emphasize unit cohesion and readjustment to
civilian life may be of benefit.

Malone JD, Paige-Dobson B, Ohl C, DiGiovanni C, Cunnion S, Roy MJ




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