"The medical, surgical, and psychiatric casualties of Operation Iraqi Freedom will receive care from a broad group of clinicians working in diverse clinical settings. Although most service members will initially be treated in military treatment facilities, many may find themselves returning to the United States with conditions that are treated in military facilities, VA Hospitals, civilian treatment centers, or all of these as they move through their recovery. As a result, some clinicians involved in treating casualties returning from Iraq may not have an understanding of the experiences of the military patient, the military system in which he or she serves, the military medical services available, or the potential impact of medical decisions on the service member's future military career. It is essential that all health care professionals--civilian or military--who care for casualties from Operation Iraqi Freedom have at least rudimentary and relevant military knowledge. A variety of factors including personal and cultural characteristics, orientation toward coping with stressors and painful emotions, pre-deployment training, military-related experiences, and postdeployment environment will shape responses to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Furthermore, psychological responses to deployment experiences can be expected to change over time. The absence of immediate symptoms following exposure to a traumatic event is not necessarily predictive of a long-term positive adjustment. Depending on a variety of factors, veterans may appear to be functioning at a reasonable level immediately upon their return home particularly given their relief at having survived the war-zone and returned to family and friends. However, as life circumstances change, symptoms of distress may increase to a level worthy of clinical intervention."
United States Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/index.asp