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

stan over the past six years. The RAND study is the first to comprehensively assess the current needs of returned service members from all branches of the military.

Researchers concluded that a major national effort is needed to expand and improve the capacity of the mental health system to provide effective care to service members and veterans. The effort must include the military, veteran and civilian health care systems, and should focus on training more providers to use high-quality, evidence-based treatment methods and encouraging service members and veterans to seek needed care.

Since October 2001, about 1.6 million U.S. troops have deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with many exposed to prolonged periods of combat-related stress or traumatic events. Early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of the deployments may be disproportionately high compared with physical injuries.

Tanielian and project co-leader Lisa Jaycox headed a group of 25 RAND researchers who conducted a three-pronged assessment of the needs of returning service members: a national survey of those who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan to assess their psychological and cognitive injuries; economic modeling to estimate the cost not only of providing needed treatment, as well as the costs associated with lost productivity and suicide; and an assessment of treatment services that are available to service members, as well as barriers to treatment.

Researchers surveyed 1,965 service members from 24 communities across the country to assess their exposure to traumatic events and possible brain injury while deployed, evaluate current symptoms of psychological illness, and gauge whether they have received care for combat-related problems.

Service members reported exposure to a wide range of traumatic events while deployed, with half saying they had a friend who was seriously wounded or killed, 45 percent reporting they saw dead or s
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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