Monday, November 01, 2010

PTSD in Iraq troops - levels lower than expected

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London have been carrying out the first major study into the mental health of the U.K.'s armed forces while they are on deployment. They studied 611 servicemen and women based in eight locations across Iraq. 92.6% rated their overall health as good, very good or excellent. Servicemen and women were more likely to report good health if they were officers, if they felt their unit was very cohesive and had supportive leadership and if they had taken a period of rest and recuperation outside the operational theatre. 20.5% showed signs of experiencing psychological distress and 3.4% were thought to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a rate similar to service personnel not on deployment and lower than in police officers, doctors in emergency departments and disaster workers. Psychological distress was more common among service personnel who were young, women, in the army and of junior rank. PTSD was more common among people of junior rank, those who felt themselves in danger of being killed and those who had been more exposed to combat.

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