Rise in PTSD among British military who faced combat



Story highlights17.1% of veterans deployed in combat roles reported symptoms of PTSD in a new studyThe overall rate of PTSD in former and current service members rose between 2004 and 2014 (CNN)Of current and former members of the British military, rates of post-traumatic stress disorder are highest among combat veterans who recently left the service, a new study finds. The research also found a rise in the number of current and former military members showing symptoms of the disorder, known as PTSD, between 2004 and 2014. Among veterans whose last mission included a combat role in the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars, 17.1% reported symptoms of probable PTSD when given questionnaires focused on the condition.Those deployed in support roles, such as medical or logistics, in the same locations reported a 6% rate of PTSD — more than 11 percentage points lower — according to the study, published Monday in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Veterans who had not been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan saw rates of 5%.Memories that last: What sexual assault survivors remember and whyThe new study is “the closest thing we have to a true picture” of service members’ mental health, said Simon Wessely, professor of psychological medicine at King’s College London and author of the study.Read MoreSharon Stevelink, a lecturer in epidemiology at King’s College who led the study, added, “For the first time, we have identified that the risk of PTSD for veterans deployed in conflicts was substantially higher than the risk for those still serving.”The overall rate of probable PTSD among both current and former British military personnel rose over a 10-year period, from 4% in 2004-06 to 6% in 2014-16.”If you have left the services and have been in combat, the rates [of developing PTSD] have gone up to 1 in 6 or 1 in 5, which is higher than what it was before,” Wessely said.PTSD is an anxiety disorder that manifests after a traumatic experience and can cause sleeplessness, irritability and traumatic nightmares. Four percent of the British civilian population and an estimated 5% of the US population struggles with it.Active ingredient in ecstasy may help veterans with PTSD, study findsThe study is the latest from major research by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, with more than 8,000 participants, 62% of whom had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The newest numbers look at surveys completed from 2014 to 2016.The study highlights that veterans were 2½ times more likely to develop PTSD when they were deployed in a combat role than a combat support role, Stevelink said.However, “while the increase among veterans is a concern, not every veteran has been deployed, and in general, only about 1 in 3 would have been deployed in a combat role,” she noted.Rates of common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are also significantly higher for veterans, with 1 in 3 being affected, Stevelink added. These were high across all groups in the study, with 21.9% of

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