UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 19, 2009

IRAQ & AFGHAN WARS DRIVING TROOPS CRAZY

NY Times - A new study has found that more than one-third of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who enrolled in the veterans health system after 2001 received a diagnosis of a mental health problem, most often post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

The study by researchers at the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco, also found that the number of veterans found to have mental health problems rose steadily the longer they were out of the service.

The study was based on the department health records of 289,328 veterans involved in the two wars who used the veterans health system for the first time from April 1, 2002, to April 1, 2008.

The researchers found that 37 percent of those people received mental health diagnoses. Of those, the diagnosis for 22 percent was post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, for 17 percent it was depression and for 7 percent it was alcohol abuse. One-third of the people with mental health diagnoses had three or more problems, the study found.

The increase in diagnoses accelerated after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the researchers found. Among the group of veterans who enrolled in veterans health services during the first three months of 2004, 14.6 percent received mental health diagnoses after one year. But after four years, the number had nearly doubled, to 27.5 percent.

The study┬╣s principal author, Dr. Karen H. Seal, attributed the rising number of diagnoses to several factors: repeat deployments; the perilous and confusing nature of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, where there are no defined front lines; growing public awareness of PTSD; unsteady public support for the wars; and reduced troop morale.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Think already! said...

How much more evidence piled higher and higher do we need that war is NOT human nature and that war is a huge AFFRONT to human nature before I stop hearing everyday that war is inevitable because it's human nature?! How much more obvious can it get that if war was human nature these soldiers would have no problems???

July 21, 2009 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

The psychopaths are the ones who say it's human nature. Because it is indeed their nature, and their favorite claim --it's virtually diagnostic-- is that we all would behave as they do, if only we had the courage.

But the reality is that cats and even dogs are, in a very important sense, more human than psychopaths are.

July 21, 2009 6:56 PM  

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