April 17, 2008

The Iraq War and the Mental Health of Our Veterans

These are horrifying, and heartbreaking, numbers.

Roughly one in five U.S. troops is suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an equal number have suffered brain injuries, a new study estimates ...

A recently completed survey showed 18.5% - or 300,000 people - said they have symptoms of depression or PTSD, the researchers said. Nineteen% - or 320,000 - suffered head injuries ranging from mild concussions to penetrating head wounds.

Posted by armand at April 17, 2008 09:59 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Health | Military Affairs | Shine the Light on It | War


What's really scary is that our health-care system is so ill-equipped to deal with psych illnesses anyway, notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of veterans who need that kind of care now.

Posted by: kcb at April 17, 2008 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

One in five troops have a concussion? That means the military is protecting its soldiers three times better than soccer and football coaches protect their players:
A study conducted by McGill University in Montreal found that 60 percent of college soccer players reported symptoms of a concussion at least once during the season. The study also revealed that concussion rates in soccer players were comparable to those in football.

Of course, that's Canadian health care talking.

And didn't we already clash about how the suicide rate in the armed forces? The most recent stat I found is 99 in 2006, which when divided by 16 to get per 100,000 stats (assuming your Rand study's figure of 1.6 million troops) is 6.2, compared with a US national average of 10.9 per 100,000.

Which begs the question. What is it about our armed forces that allows them to have a prevalence of depression at more than three times the adult rate of 5.3% and a suicide rate of only two thirds the national average? Could it be that Tedeschi is right?

"In the developing literature on posttraumatic growth, we have found that reports of growth experiences in the aftermath of traumatic events far outnumber reports of psychiatric disorders (Quarantelli, 1985; Tedeschi, 1999). This is despite the fact that we are concerned with truly traumatic circumstances rather than everyday stressors."

Posted by: Morris at April 18, 2008 12:22 AM | PERMALINK
Post a comment

Remember personal info?