"Legend" Chris Kyle US Navy SEAL

A U.S. Navy Seal by the name of Chris Kyle takes it upon himself to join the armed forces at a later age to serve and protect his comrades. While fulfilling his duties he became one of the most lethal and well known snipers in American history even earning the nickname “Legend” and I can understand why. He had a pinpoint accuracy with his sniper riffle that most others could not even dream of having. Those exquisite sniper skills were saving the lives of his comrades on the battlefield and innocent people living off the battlefield.

He served a total of four tours of duty in Iraq but when it was time for him to return back home to his wife and two kids he realized that he could not leave the war behind in Iraq where it belonged. With that being said Chris Kyle had the disorder known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). DSM-5 describes the setting event for PTSD as exposure to a traumatic event during which an individual experiences or witnesses death or threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury.

His disorder came about when he came back from his tours in Iraq. War is not the only traumatic experience that will cause post traumatic stress disorder. Other events such as car accidents, rape, natural disasters or even things such as the sudden death of someone very close to you. While watching this movie I could tell Chris Kyle’s behavior was not what you would call normal.

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For example, once he returned home he was welcomed by his wife and the reality of being new to fatherhood. His wife Taya was concerned because he would become distracted or lost in a daze when the memories of his war experiences would suddenly come rushing through his mind at any time without warning. You would think with a newborn baby around that would be your main focus and concern. Chris’ wife was starting to become slightly concerned about her husband.

From the movie I vaguely remember when he came back from his second tour he started to become emotionally numb. This is when someone is feeling emotionally numb, guilty, depressed and or worried, losing interest in hobbies or activities that were enjoyable in the past. An example of this was when Kyle says he felt guilty that he could not save some of the guys on his tours of duty. His wife always told him that once he returned home from his second tour of duty he was not ever “really there” anymore and that the war was changing him drastically He was also experiencing hyper vigilance which is being easily startled, feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping, and experiencing angry outbursts. He showed signs of this when his daughter was born and he went down to the nursery to see her. He got really upset that the nurse was not tending to her as much as he thought she was supposed to while she was crying.

So, he had an angry outburst and started yelling and banging on the glass at the nursery. During each of his tours to Iraq different events occurred that seemed to add more to his disorder. When memories occur suddenly, accompanied by strong emotion, and the victims find themselves reliving the event, they are having a flashback. For example, Chris would just sit in front of a blank television and hear war sounds while seeing vivid images of the tours he went on. This explains exactly what Chris Kyle was going through and experiencing when he came back from each of his tours. This is how I figured out the behavior his was exhibiting was not normal at all. The mental illness Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is depicted accurately in this film in my opinion. All the signs and symptoms that were listed from multiple sources matched exactly what the movie portrayed. Following all the examples I have just previously given in my paper the mental illness was labeled accurately as well in this movie.

We should not only look at the physical signs and symptoms of this mental illness but we should also look at it from within the body. This disorder is closely associated with the limbic system. Structures including the hippocampus and amygdala. Their primary functions are to basically control human emotions. When people with post-traumatic stress disorder are exposed to a traumatic event they experience a “fight or flight” response. This originates in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).The amygdala in the limbic system activates the SNS in order to produce higher levels of neurotransmitters (i.e., epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine). These neurotransmitters are charged with facilitating certain physical reactions, such as constricting blood vessels, increasing heart rate, and dilating pupils. The amygdala will communicate this response to the hippocampus, which will then form long-term memories with the event.

Treatment for this mental illness includes There are different treatments being tried out on PTSD patients such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, a form of individualized counseling. Composed of the two most common forms of CBT which are cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. CPT has the goal of helping patients change his/her outlook regarding their traumatic experience.PE has the goal of helping patients lessen the impact of a traumatic memory. In one of the articles I chose they also talked about art therapy for military service members and veterans. The participants of the art sessions are encouraged to produce artwork and at the end of the session they are encouraged to engage in conversations about what they have created. Most of the results found after art therapy was that there was an increase in humor and creative problem solving. While watching this movie and doing more research I see that other issues can occur with PTSD such as Depression, alcohol misuse, memory loss, homelessness, aggression, suicide, social detachment and sleep impairment just to name a few.

The correlation between PTSD and increased rates of suicide seem to go hand in hand. About 20% of the suicides committed in the United States are by veterans. The sniper had social detachment issues because he tried to avoid certain situations that would trigger a horrific memory for him. He was slowly but surely drifting away from his wife and two children. Russian Psychologist Ivan Pavlov came up with the fundamental associative learning process called classical conditioning. Classical conditioning: learning that occurs when a neural stimulus becomes associated with a stimulus. The sniper also experienced some classical conditioning. For example he associated most loud noises with war sounds such as explosions. Once the sounds occurred he would immediately become scared and anxious. Conditioning: ability to connect stimuli (changes that occur in the environment) with responses (behaviors or others actions) On the second tour of duty he experienced a terrorist kill a child with a drill by drilling into the little boy’s skull.

Once he returned home he and his son went to a tire shop and once he heard the sounds of those drills they were using he immediately associated it with the killing of the little boy. Even the sound of lawn mowers made him nervous. The sound reminded him of the helicopters that would fly over the battle field and it would just take him to a whole new place in his head. At one of his comrades funerals the soldiers did a 21 gun salute in the honor of the fallen Navy seal and the sound of that startled him and made him have flashbacks. I have learned that PTSD is a common anxiety disorder that can occur when a person has experienced and very traumatic event. People with this disorder cannot stop thinking about the traumatic event that has occurred even if they wanted to.

From reading the articles fear and anger are the most common emotions associated with PTSD. In a large majority of the cases, they relive the traumatic event repeatedly, causing them to have difficulty sleeping, not being able to trust individuals or even enjoy activities that they really enjoyed in the past. Luckily, there are different treatments available to help cope with the disorder. The treatments do not fully cure them. But what I have concluded about this particular topic is that this disorder is truly a disabler and I feel terribly sorry for anyone suffers from it. I would hate for the most common sound to startle me and make me have horrifying flashbacks of a traumatic time in my life. I hope that they can find a cure that can fully cure this disorder. I don’t know anybody that is personally dealing with anything like this but if I did I would try to help them as if they were my own family member.

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"Legend" Chris Kyle US Navy SEAL. (2022, Feb 23). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/legend-chris-kyle-us-navy-seal/

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