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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Military PTSD & the Epidemiology of Disabilities


Military PTSD & the Epidemiology of Disabilities
“PTSD is an increasingly more common and severe disability.”

“As more service members are deployed into combat situations, it is essential to understand the epidemiology of disability from PTSD to target appropriate interventions and to prevent or mitigate deleterious long-term mental health outcomes in service members and in those transitioning to civilian life.” So say Elizabeth Packett and colleagues, researchers from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the Journal of Traumatic Stress [2012, 25, 485-493] (p. 486).

Packett and colleagues examined data abstracted from disability evaluation files completed prior to September 30, 2010. The authors observed: “Between 2005 and 2010, 88,315 soldiers and 18,515 Marines were evaluated for disability from PTSD during this time. Rates of disability from PTSD have significantly increased in all personnel as well as in deployed personnel in the study period….” (p. 487).

The authors report: “…disability from PTSD rates among all personnel increased 400% in soldiers and by more than 200% among Marines during the study. In deployed personnel, the rate of disability from PTSD increased by about 400% in both services” (p. 488). They write, “approximately 2-8 service members per 10,000 with PTSD symptoms following deployment have PTSD severe enough to affect their ability to perform their military occupations and are referred for disability evaluation” (p. 489). And they add: “This study demonstrates that PTSD is an increasingly more common and severe disability, primarily in deployed soldiers and Marines who experience concurrent musculoskeletal and neurological disabilities” (p. 490).

Emmett Early

Abridged from The Repetition & Avoidance Quarterly, Fall, 2012: p. 13