Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Mental health warning on US soldiers

Expand Messages
  • Paul
    Mental health warning on US soldiers By Victoria Griffith in Boston and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington Published: June 30 2004 21:55 | Last Updated: July 1
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Mental health warning on US soldiers
      By Victoria Griffith in Boston and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington
      Published: June 30 2004 21:55 | Last Updated: July 1 2004 0:16
      http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1087373384503&p=1012571727085

      One in five US soldiers returning from Iraq suffers serious mental health
      problems associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to
      research by the US Army.


      A paper to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine today says
      19.5 per cent of troops who served in Iraq had moderate or severe mental
      health problems. If milder symptoms such as anxiety are included, the number
      rises to 27.9 per cent.

      A Pentagon spokesman said the study was the first comprehensive evaluation
      of the impact that major ground combat and hazardous duty has on soldiers.
      More than 330,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq since the start of
      the invasion. The spokesman said some troops diagnosed with the disorder had
      subsequently returned to Iraq after treatment.

      The UK Ministry of Defence told the FT last night it was collating a study
      of PTSD among more than 8,000 British soldiers in Iraq but expected to find
      fewer than 50 cases.

      Advances in technology and battlefield medicine have reduced the casualties
      from military action in Iraq. But mental illness is higher than in earlier
      conflicts such as the first Gulf war, the US study claims.

      Indeed, low casualty rates disguise the number of "close calls, such as
      having been saved from being wounded by wearing body armour", which the
      report notes can cause trauma.

      To be diagnosed with PTSD, a soldier must exhibit mental health problems
      that affect his ability to function normally in society.

      Yet as few as a quarter of soldiers with mental disorders seek help,
      according to the report from the Walter Reed Army Institute, and the most
      serious cases are least likely to be addressed.

      The study assessed the mental health of 784 soldiers who had returned from
      active service in Iraq. It found that 153 had moderate or severe mental
      disorders, such as depression.

      Rates of PTSD in the US adult population are 3-4 per cent. In the first Gulf
      war 2-10 per cent of veterans suffered from the condition.

      Studies on Vietnam veterans were conducted years after their service ended,
      after PTSD had been recognised by the American Psychiatric Association in
      1980. Even though Vietnam was a bloodier war, fought by a largely conscript
      army, they found that 15 per cent of veterans suffered from PTSD. "You take
      men - angry, young, strong, trained killers - and suddenly expect them to
      abide by the rules back home, and you're asking for trouble," said Shad
      Meshad, president of the National Veterans Foundation, a Vietnam veteran
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.