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Post-War Suicide Rates Extremely High

Armen Hareyan's picture

Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are very high among veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to suicide rates even higher than combat deaths

Thomas Insel, the leading psychiatric researcher from National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, urges the need of adequate mental care for troops. Insel points out a study by Rand Corporation conducted last month, which shows how serious suicide problem is in veterans.

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Since October 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan wars fought about 1.6 million US soldier, about 4500 of them died, according to Defense Department. The Rand study has found that 20% of returning US soldiers suffer from post- traumatic stress disorder or depression, but only the half of them gets treatment. Comparing these figures it becomes clear that troops suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder complications more than from actual war.

Soldiers with combat traumas are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. 53% of these troops have received mental care during the last few years, but Rand report says that half of them did not receive adequate care. This is one of leading causes leading to depression development in veterans. There are currently 300000 soldiers suffering from mental illnesses and they need new innovative treatment for depression or PTSD treatment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition mainly occurring among those who experience shock, such as rape, combat, or accident. It takes from several months to years to recover from the illness. However, 10% of PTSD sufferers never even recover.

Thomas Insel says, it's yet impossible to predict who will be more mentally affected and it's not yet clear how to optimally treat post-traumatic stress disorder. However, he is sure that suicide among veterans is extremely important, and financial and scientific supports are needed to make sure veterans receive quality mental care.