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Study finds 65% increase in mental disorders among military

August 28, 2012
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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According to a recent study, mental disorders have increased by 65 percent among active-duty troops over the past twelve years.    It was also stated that “In 2011, mental disorders accounted for more hospitalizations of U.S. service members than any other diagnostic category.”

The study looked at all individuals who served actively in the U.S. armed forces at any time between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2011.  The mental disorders that were observed included adjustment reaction, substance abuse, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depressive disorder. 

The report said overall, “Rates of incident mental disorder were higher among females than males and declined with increasing age.” 

Some of the other demographic findings included:

·        Crude incidence rates of adjustment, PTSD, personality disorders, schizophrenia and other psychoses were highest among the youngest age group (<20 years old).

·        Rates of substance and alcohol abuse were highest among the 20-24 year-old age group.

·        Rates of anxiety disorders and depression were highest among the 25-29 age group.

The editor of the study acknowledges that the report on the increase of mental illnesses within the military population also reflects to some extent the increase of mental illnesses that the general U.S. population is experiencing.

The Department of Defense also may have to do with some of the results because they have done some work to help reduce stigmas associated with seeking care and treatment for mental illnesses and to eliminate the barriers to receiving proper and timely diagnoses and treatment.