Fifty Percent Jump of PTSD in Military

This month there’s been a lot of reporting on PTSD. The simple reason is that more and more veterans are returning from their tours of duty with the diagnosis. Below an excerpt from a Washington Post article documenting the 50 percent increase in the diagnosis last year.

Early in May the Rand Corporation suggested that 20 percent of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from the disorder. The recent Washington Post article suggests an even higher 30 percent. This is news because combat PTSD can be extremely debilitating. This is news because treatment of PTSD is going to cost the military and taxpayers a lot of money.

Here’s the excerpt from the Washington Post article that cites a 50 percent increase in the diagnosis last year:

The number of U.S. troops diagnosed by the military with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) jumped nearly 50 percent in 2007 over the previous year, as more of them served lengthy and repeated combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon data released yesterday show.

The increase brings the total number of U.S. troops diagnosed by the military with PTSD after serving in one of the two conflicts from 2003 to 2007 to nearly 40,000.

The vast majority of those diagnosed served in the Army, which had a total of 28,365 cases, including more than 10,000 last year alone. The Marine Corps had the second highest number, with 5,581 total and 2,114 last year. The Air Force and Navy had fewer than 1,000 cases each last year, according to the data from the Office of the Surgeon General on a chart released by the Army.

Military officials cautioned that the numbers represent only a small fraction of all service members who have PTSD because not included are those diagnosed by Department of Veterans Affairs workers or civilian caregivers, and those who avoid seeking care out of concern over stigma or damage to their careers.


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

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