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Sunday, October 14, 2007

UK Iraq troops in mental agony

Sun, 14 Oct 2007 13:25:49

As Britain has pulled hundreds of troops out of Iraq, doctors are treating not only their physical wounds, but also the mental ones.

More than four years of conflict in Iraq, and six years of fighting in Afghanistan, have taken a toll on the armed forces, both in terms of the number killed as well as the number mentally and physically wounded, Reuters reported.

"In World War Two, a soldier generally knew when fighting was going to happen on a given day and was prepared for it," said Dr. Nigel Hunt, associate professor of health psychology at the University of Nottingham and an expert in PTSD.

"In Iraq, it's so unexpected. Nothing may happen to a soldier for days or weeks, and then on an ordinary patrol, a bomb will go off. That unpredictability can be very disturbing."

The government has taken steps to tackle both aspects of the problem, amid criticism from the families of returning soldiers and some veterans' groups that not enough is being done to assist those fighting the unpopular wars.

One move was to increase the lump-sum payments made to soldiers severely wounded in attacks to as much as $570,000.

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