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Study finds 1 in 5 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD or major depression
Date:4/17/2008

Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan -- 300,000 in all -- report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slight more than half have sought treatment, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

In addition, researchers found about 19 percent of returning service members report that they experienced a possible traumatic brain injury while deployed, with 7 percent reporting both a probable brain injury and current PTSD or major depression.

Many service members said they do not seek treatment for psychological illnesses because they fear it will harm their careers. But even among those who do seek help for PTSD or major depression, only about half receive treatment that researchers consider minimally adequate for their illnesses.

In the first analysis of its kind, researchers estimate that PTSD and depression among returning service members will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion in the two years following deployment -- an amount that includes both direct medical care and costs for lost productivity and suicide. Investing in more high-quality treatment could save close to $2 billion within two years by substantially reducing those indirect costs, the 500-page study concludes.

There is a major health crisis facing those men and women who have served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Terri Tanielian, the projects co-leader and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation. Unfortunately, we found there are many barriers preventing them from getting the high-quality treatment they need.

The findings are from the first large-scale, nongovernmental assessment of the psychological and cognitive needs of military service members who have served in Iraq and Afghani
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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