The Mental Foxhole

The Vietnam Veteran’s Search for Meaning
  • Cindy Cook Williams
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


Three types of intrusive and recurrent recollections about the war have been described by Vietnam veterans. These include (1) flashbacks or involuntary reenactments of a past event; (2) nightmares or night terrors; and (3) thoughts about the war that cannot be dispelled despite a desire to do so. Numerous anecdotal accounts of the occurrence of these recollections were found in the literature. One young Vietnam veteran’s experiences with flashbacks and nightmares were described by Hogben and Cornfield 18 as:

After entering the Marine Corps, he had eight months of combat in Vietnam. There he participated in much violence and frequently saw his buddies killed by mortar fire.... After discharge from the service, the patient noticed severe and frightening war-related nightmares for the first time. He was paralyzed on waking from the nightmares, but he was able to return to sleep. He also had intense, unprovoked day images of traumatic war experiences and heard bullets and mortar shells whizzing by him. Loud fireworks provoked the visual reexperiencing of war scenes (p. 442).


Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Vietnam Veteran Combat Veteran Repetitive Thought Night Terror 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy Cook Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, Social Environment and Health ProgramUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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