American troops returning from Vietnam

American troops returning from Vietnam. Specifically it will argue that troops returning from Vietnam were addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. During the 1960s and 1970s, America was in upheaval. The country was under an onslaught of drug addiction and rebellion among its youth, and there was little support for the young Americans fighting a war in Vietnam. When many of these young men returned, they were greeted with jeers and hatred, rather than cheers and gratitude. Many of them developed drug or alcohol addictions in Vietnam, or shortly after returning. This paper will argue that these addictions were inevitable due to the time of the war, the availability of drugs, and the Vietnam veterans’ desire to block out their experiences in Vietnam any way they could.

The Vietnam War was unlike any other war in American history. After World War II, and even the Korean Conflict, veterans returning home were seen as patriotic heroes who helped save their country from evil and threat. When the Vietnam vets returned, they faced ridicule and ostracizing, and had difficulties adjusting to civilian life where they felt unwanted and disrespected. One writer who has studied the effects of the Vietnam era on veterans notes, “In addition to the confounding factor of the drug epidemic of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Vietnam’s latter phase and postwar period were characterized (as had been in no other conflict) by the widespread stigmatization of those who had served” (Marlowe 75). Drugs and alcohol were plentiful in Vietnam, and many soldiers used them to reduce the stress of day-to-day living in a harsh and unfamiliar environment. When they returned home, they continued to use drugs and alcohol to reduce the stresses of returning to a “normal,” civilian life that was no longer welcoming. Even today, a high percentage of homeless, addicted veterans being treated in Veteran’s Hospitals around the nation are survivors of the Vietnam era (Benda 199). Thus, addiction has continued to play a very real part of many Vietnam veterans’ lives.

When the Vietnam veterans returned, they faced another obstacle to their recovery and assimilation back into society. Often, their condition and reaction to the war, now called “post-traumatic stress syndrome,” was not even recognized. Most military doctors and psychiatrists were trained using methods that worked during World War II and the Korean Conflict, and Vietnam was a whole new ballgame when it came to stress and stress-related reactions. Author Marlowe quotes a Vietnam-era authority who talks about some of the other causes leading to stress in Vietnam-era soldiers: “He noted that even without combat, ‘insurmountable hardships existed in the environment. Constant heat, humidity, noise, filth, vermin and crowding… [and]… The more subtle stresses of delay, shortage, uncertainty and ambiguity’ as well as ‘the prison farm atmosphere of the bases in Vietnam’” (Marlowe 76). One of the drugs of choice during Vietnam was heroin, and the Nixon Administration was so alarmed at the growing use of heroin by American Armed Forces that Nixon asked Congress for funds to address the growing addiction of Americans, especially returning veterans (Belenko 277). Marijuana was also a popular drug, and it was readily available in Southeast Asia. It also grew in popularity back home, so when veterans returned, they usually had easy access to marijuana, and could continue their addiction.

These addictions seem inevitable as studies continue to link the stresses of war with various addictions and psychological disorders. As soldiers face stresses they may not have been prepared for, they become more anxious, and more open to removing that stress any way they know how. Drugs and alcohol are still widely available in the military and at home, and so, they turn to these substances to relieve their stress and make their current lives more bearable. However, there are still people who believe that these stress-related reactions to war simply do not exist. One reporter notes, “Some experts insist there’s no such thing as Gulf War syndrome, an illness that believers blame for the sickness of as many as 100,000 of the 700,000 American troops who served in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991” (Rackl 1). This same denial often follows veterans returning from Iraq, and those who returned from Vietnam, and so, their experiences are often quite similar, even though they fought in different wars decades apart. There are some who are simply unwilling to believe that post-traumatic stress disorder exists, and that it can lead to nearly insurmountable addictions in many veterans.

What is the solution to stress disorder leading to addiction in America’s fighting force? Perhaps a better understanding of just what these men and women face in combat and waiting for combat is necessary. However, that is not the only solution. Clearly, a better understanding and treatment of substance abuse is also required. Many veterans returning home from the War in Iraq note they find themselves alienated from friends and family, and have no support from the government they served. On a veteran’s web site, one soldier noted the difficulties he faced when he returned home, including increased alcohol use, fights with his wife, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction with his life. When he attempted to find help, he faced a brick wall. He writes, “The next morning I called the VA. The waiting list for counseling was months long. I have kept civilian insurance from my wife’s company so I called them. I wasn’t covered. I was still eligible for TRICARE (military HMO) benefits so I called them. They told me to call the VA” (Anonymous, 2004). This is another problem that seems to echo the experience of many returning Vietnam veterans.

When the soldiers who fought in Iraq come home, most people simply expect them to fall right into step in their old lives, as if nothing had happened. For many of them, this is not possible, and they turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to block out their fears, their past, and their future. When these soldiers return home, they need services and counseling that will help them understand their reactions to the war, and their reactions to being home, so they do not have to turn to drugs and alcohol to make their lives “acceptable” to them. Some experts are beginning to call for action, too. One article notes, “Soldiers reconnecting with family are coming from profound emotional experiences,’ Chin said. ‘The spouses also had these experiences, dealing with day-to-day issues by themselves, taking care of the children and gaining independence,’ Chin said” (“Readjustment,” 2002). Thus, when veterans return home, they are often at odds with their family who expects them to act as if they had never been away, and yet the family has grown, evolved, and changed since they have been gone, and may not rely on them as much as they did before. This leads many returning veterans to depression and a growing dependence on drugs or alcohol to escape their problems and their memories. It seems that the military is not very effective at preparing soldiers for what they will face on the battlefield and waiting for battle, and that they do not support them enough when they come home. More training for the soldiers and support personnel seems like it might help alleviate some of the stress and the inevitable reaction to stress – using substances to alleviate the immediate effects of stress and strain.

In conclusion, it is clear that the experiences of many veterans of the War in Iraq echo those of Vietnam veterans. There has been less notice of Iraq veterans returning home addicted to drugs and alcohol, but once they return even the military acknowledges there can be increasing problems with addiction and recovery. It is clear the stresses of war are high, and that many soldiers are not prepared to cope with the day-to-day stresses of modern warfare, especially in wars that are not popular with a large segment of the population. Addiction in returning veterans can linger on for decades, as the surviving group of Vietnam veterans clearly shows. Thus, America must devise new ways of training soldiers for battle, and new ways of helping them deal with the stresses of battle when they return home.

Annotated Bibliography

Anonymous. “Nightmare #1.” Veterans for Common Sense. 23 Nov. 2004. 22 March 2005.

This is one soldier’s day-to-day diary of his experiences after he returned from Iraq, including his growing dependence on alcohol. He also notes the lack of understanding in his family, and the lack of support from the military.

Author not Available. “Readjustment, Reconnecting After Deployment.” United States Military Academy. 2 Oct. 2002. 22 March 2005.

This article on the U.S. Military Academy web site acknowledges some of the problems with returning veterans, and gives some tips for blending back in to American society. It also gives some ideas on how military personnel and their families can reconnect after deployment, and how family members may react to the soldier’s return.

Belenko, Steven R., ed. Drugs and Drug Policy in America a Documentary History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.

A comprehensive history of drugs and drug enforcement in American history, including some insight into heroin use during the Vietnam war, and the Nixon Administration’s reaction to that abuse.

Benda, Brent B. “Predictors of Rehospitalization of Military Veterans Who Abuse Substances.” Social Work Research 25.4 (2001): 199+.

A wide-ranging study of 600 homeless Vietnam era veterans and their continuing addictions. Includes facts, figures, and the results of the study, and some ideas about why post-traumatic stress syndrome can lead to debilitating addictions.

Marlowe, David H. Psychological and Psychosocial Consequences of Combat and Deployment: With Special Emphasis on the Gulf War. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2001.

Helpful resource studying the effects of war on just about every major American war veteran. Contains a large and helpful section on the Vietnam War and the First Gulf War, and why veterans react the way they do to the trauma of war.

McNally, Richard J. “Progress and Controversy in the Study of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” Annual Review of Psychology (2003): 229+.

A look at some of the studies conducted into post-traumatic stress disorder, and how the studies were conducted.

Rackl, Lorilyn. “Casualties of the Gulf War Some Deny Gulf War Syndrome Exists. Now Researchers Say They’ve Found Evidence it Does, and a Suburban Hospital Is Trying a New Way to Treat it.” Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) 10 Jan. 2000: 1.

A newspaper article discussing reactions to the Gulf War Syndrome reported after the First Gulf War, and how some people do not believe the syndrome even exists.

Reville, John. “Top Military Medic Says Gulf War Syndrome Is Shellshock.” The Birmingham Post (England): 1.

Another newspaper article discussing reactions to the Gulf War Syndrome, this time from Great Britain, which indicates that reaction to post-traumatic stress disorder is questioned in many parts of the world.


Anonymous. “Nightmare #1.” Veterans for Common Sense. 23 Nov. 2004. 22 March 2005.

Author not Available. “Readjustment, Reconnecting After Deployment.” United States Military Academy. 2 Oct. 2002. 22 March 2005.

Belenko, Steven R., ed. Drugs and Drug Policy in America a Documentary History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Benda, Brent B. “Predictors of Rehospitalization of Military Veterans Who Abuse Substances.” Social Work Research 25.4 (2001): 199+.

Marlowe, David H. Psychological and Psychosocial Consequences of Combat and Deployment: With Special Emphasis on the Gulf War. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2001.

Rackl, Lorilyn. “Casualties of the Gulf War Some Deny Gulf War Syndrome Exists. Now Researchers Say They’ve Found Evidence it Does, and a Suburban Hospital Is Trying a New Way to Treat it.” Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) 10 Jan. 2000: 1.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper