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Background information

War is traumatic for all those involved. It is now recognised that there are health consequences of military service other than obvious war injuries. The physical and psychological consequences of recent and current desert conflicts (Gulf War 1, Gulf War 2 (Iraq) and Afghanistan) are well documented. Whilst post combat health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a long standing history, it is perhaps only now that they are beginning to receive the recognition and attention they deserve.

Though there are some significant differences between the 3 desert conflicts that we currently cover and their consequences on the health of a person - based on conditions, munitions, vaccinations and post combat care - there are also some similarities. All deployed personnel were exposed to extreme heat, limited supplies and often limited or inadequate equipment. All three conflicts have been subject to live media coverage and there are significant stresses associated to such close and ‘real time’ reporting. Some military service personnel and veterans will have served in all 3 desert conflicts.

Go to : Gulf War 1 health issues

Go to : Gulf War 2 (Iraq) & Afghanistan health issues

Common health issues / symptoms :

Aggression, Agoraphobia, Anxiety, Asthma, Attempted suicide, Insomnia, Bleeding Gums, Birth defects in their children, Cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Depression, Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Epilepsy, Flashbacks, Frequent urination, Fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome, Headaches, Hyperthyroidism, Hypervigilance, Hypothyroidism, Impotency, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Irritability, Joint swelling, Lack of confidence, Lack of concentration, Lack of motivation, Lack of self esteem, Loss of appetite, Low libido, Memory problems, Mood swings, Night sweats, Nightmares, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Palpitations, Panic attacks, Paranoia, Persistent infections, Personality disorders, Pins and needles, Poor coordination, Poor hygiene, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Rashes, Reduced mobility, Sinus problems, Spinal disc disease, Stress, Substance misuse (drink & drugs), Suicide, Tiredness, Violence, Weight gain, Weight loss

Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) is the umbrella term applied to the chronic illnesses that have developed as a result of service in the gulf. There is no one illness or symptom that defines GWS; it is a chronic, complex, multi-system illness and affects different people in different ways.

On average it takes military personnel and veterans over 10 years to declare they have a psychological problem - partly because they are unwilling to admit their vulnerability, and partly because of the stigma that they feel is still associated to needing mental health care. Many service personnel and veterans are worried that disclosing psychological difficulties or seeking out mental health treatment will negatively affect their military or civilian careers. However, untreated psychological difficulties may only get worse and could have a major impact on both careers and family life. There is a very real risk of self harm and even suicide in veterans, and particularly in those under 24 years of age.

There are also many Gulf War 1 veterans, even all these years later, that may be experiencing health problems but have not associated this to their Gulf service, or who may still be reluctant to declare they have problems because of perceived stigma regarding Gulf War Syndrome or mental health issues.

Please don’t struggle on alone without the help and support you need and deserve - contact the NGVFA today!

Medical and legal disclaimer
The information and advice published or made available through the NGVFA web site is not an exhaustive list as reports and research are developing and changing every day. Please be aware that this information is not intended to replace the services and advice of a doctor. Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a doctor in all matters relating to your health, and particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. The NGVFA is not liable for any direct or indirect claim, loss or damage resulting from use of this web site and/or any web site(s) linked to/from it.

This page last updated : January 2013

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