Veterans Disabilities: Gulf War Syndrome

Veterans Disabilities: Gulf War Syndrome

Following the Persian Gulf War, many soldiers returned home experiencing the onset of a myriad of unexplained conditions. 645,550 troops were deployed to the Persian Gulf during the war and according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), nearly 1 in 5 display symptoms recognized as presumptive illnesses related to Gulf War Syndrome.

Some of These Medical Symptoms and Illnesses Include:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain, insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, memory problems)
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders (irritable bowel syndrome, abnormal weight loss, functional dyspepsia, functional abdominal pain syndrome)
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Headaches
  • Memory Loss (cognitive impairments)
  • Musculoskeletal pain (joint pain included)
  • Menstrual Disorders
  • Neurological & Psychological Problems
  • Disordered sleep
  • Dermatological symptoms  (skin conditions including rashes, irritated skin, etc.)
  • Respiratory Disorders (chronic bronchitis, etc.)

If you were deployed to the Persian Gulf area from 1990 to the present day and have a history of suffering from medical conditions related to any of the above, you can go to your local VA – at no cost to you – to receive a Gulf War Registry health exam. You may also be entitled to receive monthly veterans disability benefits & medical care.


The Persian Gulf War

The Persian Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm or the First Gulf War, was fought between Iraq and a coalition of 34 nations led by the United States from August 2nd, 1990 to February 28th, 1991. It was fought in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. The fighting occurred mostly in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, many of the veterans who served during this time now suffer from a variety of physical and mental health issues that have been linked to their service. These conditions are commonly referred to as “Gulf War Syndrome” or “Gulf War Illness”.


Gulf War Syndrome: Understanding the Causes

The exact cause of Gulf War Syndrome is still unknown and the condition remains a source of controversy. While there are many theories as to what caused the syndrome, the most commonly accepted theory is that it was caused by exposure to toxins such as oil smoke from military operations, depleted uranium, nerve agents, and chemical warfare agents causing undiagnosed illnesses.

Other possible causes include stress, vaccinations, infection with infectious diseases, or even a combination of multiple factors.


Gulf War Syndrome: Treatment and Resources

While there is no cure for Gulf War Syndrome, there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms. These include medications to help alleviate pain, cognitive behavioral therapy to help with mental health issues, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes such as exercise and stress reduction.

There are also a number of resources available to veterans who are suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. These include support groups, counseling services, and other assistance programs.


Can I Get VA Disability Benefits?

If you served in the Gulf War, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits. The VA recognizes a number of conditions as being related to service during the Persian Gulf War.

In order to be eligible for disability benefits for a service-connected condition, you must:

  • Have been discharged or released from active duty with an honorable or general discharge;
  • Have one of the illnesses or conditions listed above that is related to your military service; and
  • Provide evidence that supports a medical diagnosis.

Gulf War Syndrome isn’t the only illness that could qualify you for benefits through the V.A. Other medical conditions that may entitle you to V.A. disability benefits include:

  • Anxiety
  • Breathing problems resulting from a current lung condition or lung disease
  • Cancers or other conditions caused by contact with toxic chemicals or other dangers
  • Chronic (long-lasting) back pain resulting in a current diagnosed back disability
  • Depression
  • Loss of range of motion (problems moving your body)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Scar tissue
  • Severe hearing loss
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Ulcers [1]

If you have evidence of such a qualifying illness, contact your local VA to file a claim for service-connected disability compensation. The VA will review your disability claim and provide you with an answer in writing. If the VA grants your claim, you may be eligible for monthly payments or health care services related to your illness or injury.

How Shook & Stone Can Help?

At Shook & Stone, our VA disability lawyers are available to help you understand your rights and whether you may be able to apply for and secure benefits. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Las Vegas and the state of Nevada.

[1] Eligibility for VA disability benefits | Veterans Affairs. (2023, April 5). Veterans Affairs.