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

eriously injured non-combatants, and over 10 percent saying they were injured themselves and required hospitalization.

Rates of PTSD and major depression were highest among Army soldiers and Marines, and among service members who were no longer on active duty (people in the reserves and those who had been discharged or retired from the military). Women, Hispanics and enlisted personnel all were more likely to report symptoms of PTSD and major depressions, but the single best predictor of PTSD and depression was exposure to combat trauma while deployed.

Researchers found many treatment gaps exist for those with PTSD and depression. Just 53 percent of service members with PTSD or depression sought help from a provider over the past year, and of those who sought care, roughly half got minimally adequate treatment.

If PTSD and depression go untreated or are under treated, there is a cascading set of consequences, Jaycox said. Drug use, suicide, marital problems and unemployment are some of the consequences. There will be a bigger societal impact if these service members go untreated. The consequences are not good for the individuals or society in general.

Service members report many reasons for not seeking treatment. Many are worried about the side effects of medication or believe that family and friends can provide more help than a mental health professional. Even more reported that they worried seeking care might damage their career or cause their peers to lose confidence in their abilities.

The RAND report recommends the military create a system that would allow service members to receive mental health services confidentially in order to ease concerns about negative career repercussions.

We need to remove the institutional cultural barriers that discourage soldiers from seeking care, Tanielian said. Just because someone is getting mental health care does not mean that they are not able to do their job.
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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