Mental illness in the military

| Thu Mar. 31, 2005 4:09 PM EST

From USA Today:

As many as one out of four veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals in the past 16 months were diagnosed with mental disorders, a number that has been steadily rising, according to a report in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

Records show that 20% of eligible ex-soldiers came to VA hospitals seeking medical treatment between October 2003 and February 2005. Overall, 26% of them were diagnosed with mental disorders, say Han Kang and Kenneth Hyams of the VA.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was most common, diagnosed in 10% of patients, followed by drug or alcohol abuse (9%). Seven percent were diagnosed with depression; 6% had anxiety disorders, such as phobias and panic. Many ex-soldiers had multiple disorders, Kang says.

For more on how the military is handling this problem (patchily and with somewhat understandable ambivalence) see this recent report by PBS's Frontline.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.