Sunday, July 13, 2008

Iraq and PTSD

Most people probably know that more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq. How many of us know how many Iraqis have died? How many Iraqis have been displaced? How many Americans and Iraqis have been wounded? How many from the other countries who sent troops (Britain, Australia, Poland, etc) have been killed or wounded?

According to an article in Monitor on Psychology (in the July/August 2008 issue) about 16% of U.S. Iraq/Afghanistan veterans have shown symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The percentage is higher for those wounded and for Reserve and National Guard veterans. I can't find the citation right now, but I have read that there is some evidence that around 16% of combat veterans in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam showed symptoms of PTSD as well. (Although, in past wars the disorder was called "shell shock" or "battle fatigue.")

There is at least some god news: the Pentagon seems to be at last taking it seriously that PTSD is a serious disorder and common among veterans of war.


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