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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Veteran PTSD Makes Washington Post's Page One

Just saw this come up online. The article Veterans Report Mental Distress will run tomorrow on Page One, written by the WaPo's excellent Shankar Vedantam (you may remember he wrote a couple months ago on the VA's desire to review 75,000 PTSD cases because costs were going through the roof; the public backlash put an end to the idea right quick). Though the news is not good, the prominent coverage is heartily welcomed.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Veterans Report Mental Distress
About a Third Returning From Iraq Seek Help

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 1, 2006; Page A01

More than one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq later sought help for mental health problems, according to a comprehensive snapshot by Army experts of the psyches of men and women returning from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places.

The accounts of more than 300,000 soldiers and Marines returning from several theaters paint an unusually detailed picture of the psychological impact of the various conflicts. Those returning from Iraq consistently reported more psychic distress than those returning from Afghanistan and other conflicts, such as those in Bosnia or Kosovo. ...

in questionnaires filled out after their deployment, more than half of all soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq reported that they had "felt in great danger of being killed" there, and 2,411 reported having thoughts of killing themselves, the report said. It did not have comparable data from earlier conflicts.

Earlier research has suggested that 12 to 20 percent of combat veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which produces flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts that disrupt work and home life. The new study found that Iraq veterans are being diagnosed with mental disorders at the rate of 12 percent per year.

Read the whole piece here.

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