PTSD and Multiple Tours of Duty

Acute PTSD. The Charlotte Sun-Herald has a piece on a “baby-faced” Marine who disappeared and was later found dead. His mother: “My son died a long time ago… He wasn’t the same when he came back.” Of course, where he came back from was Iraq, in 2005. The marine suffered from an acute case of PTSD, according to the article. According to the article the “illness” has been diagnosed in 60,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And we can expect to hear a lot more of these stories.

Troop deployments. According to a New York Times article:

Among the 513,000 active-duty soldiers who have served in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, more than 197,000 have been deployed more than once, and more than 53,000 have deployed three or more times, according to a separate set of statistics provided by Army personnel officers. The percentage of troops sent back to Iraq for repeat deployments would have to increase in the months ahead.

The Army study of mental health showed that 27 percent of noncommissioned officers on their third or fourth tour exhibited symptoms commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress disorders. That figure is far higher than the roughly 12 percent who exhibit those symptoms after one tour and the 18.5 percent who develop the disorders after a second deployment, according to the study, conducted by the Army surgeon general’s Mental Health Advisory Team.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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