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Posttraumatic stress disorder among military returnees from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Following are short descriptions of recent research on posttraumatic stress disorder. Keep in mind that hundreds of articles on PTSD are published each year. The articles listed below are a few that have sparked our interest. We will be adding new research summaries and hope you will revisit our site to learn what is new on PTSD. New research on the treatment of PTSD is in the treatment section of this web site.

Predictors of PTSD and delayed PTSD after disaster: the impact of exposure and psychosocial resources. R.E. Adams and J.A. Boscarino. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 194:485-493, 2006.

Using survey data from adults who were living in New York City on September 11, 2001, researchers tried to identify factors associated with PTSD. Surveys were conducted one-year and two-years after the World Trade Center Disaster (WTCD). Factors associated with PTSD included being younger, being female, experiencing more WTCD events, experiencing more traumatic events and negative life events other than the WTCD, having low social support and having low self-esteem. Read an abstract of this study.

Posttraumatic stress disorder among military returnees from Afghanistan and Iraq. M.J. Friedman. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163:586-593, 2006.

Although most military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq adjust successfully, a significant number will exhibit PTSD or some other psychiatric disorder. With a focus on war zone trauma, data on prevalence, diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of PTSD is reviewed. Using evidence-based practices, partial improvement can be achieved for most patients and complete remission can be achieved in 30%-50% of PTSD cases.

Mental health care needs among recent war veterans. H.K. Kang and K.C. Hyams. New England Journal of Medicine, 352:1289, 2005.

Drs. Kang and Hyams, Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., discuss mental health care for soldiers involved in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a recent survey of 3,671 soldiers involved in combat, up to 17% of these soldiers reported symptoms consistent with major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD. As of mid-February 2005, veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan numbered 244,054. War veterans are eligible for two years of free health care from the VA for any condition that may be related to combat and VA clinicians receive reminders to evaluate veterans for war-related mental disorders. There is a need to plan for increased mental health care.

Veterans’ mental health in the wake of war. M.J. Friedman. New England Journal of Medicine, 352:1287-1288,1290, 2005.

Dr. Friedman, director of the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, comments on differences in issues and treatment of PTSD between past veterans of the Vietnam War and current veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. A greater proportion of new veterans are members of the National Guard and military reservists. they are civilians and in addition to the stress of combat, their deployment can disrupt marriages and family and work life, sometimes with serious consequences. Today, more soldiers are surviving their injuries. Their physical injuries have long-lasting effects on their quality of life, vocational opportunities, self-image and mental health. Dr. Friedman concludes with “We must be ready for these veterans. We must learn from past mistakes and make good use of our new clinical and conceptual tools. Our veterans deserve nothing less”.

Increased PTSD risk with combat-related injury: a matched comparison study of injured and uninjured soldiers experiencing the same combat events. D. Koren, D. Norman, A. Cohen et al. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162:276-282, 2005.

The aim of this study was to estimate the unique contribution of physical injury, over and above that of the trauma itself, to the subsequent development of PTSD. Findings indicate that bodily injury is a risk factor—rather than a protective one—for PTSD. Read an abstract of this study.

SOURCE:- http://www.ptsd.factsforhealth.org/what/recent_research.asp

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