In honor of Memorial Day we are recognizing the large number of studies on veterans with PTSD. Most of these focus on PTSD among veterans who have participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OFF) and has focused on veterans with PTSD who receive medical care through the VA system, veterans deployed, or those being cared for at specialty clinics.
A recent study set out to estimate the prevalence of PTSD among veterans who are part of OIF/OEF as well as non-deployed veterans, looking at the demographics in terms of those receiving care through the VA and those getting treatment elsewhere.
The NewGen, in studying veterans with PTSD, analyzed the data from 20,563 veterans who participated in the study by completing a questionnaire. Of these, 64% were deployed.
Results of the study indicate that basic population prevalence of likely PTSD among veterans, which is derived from the PTSD Checklist, turned out to be 13.5%. This was similar to the results from previous studies done of veterans with PTSD. The prevalence of PTSD among deployed veterans was 15.7% as opposed to 10.9% for non-deployed veterans.
Among OIF/OEF veterans, those who used the VA for their healthcare were a lot more apt to be positive for PTSD (24.7%) than veterans who received healthcare outside the VA system (9.8%). That also held true among veterans who had never been deployed.
Additionally, there was a higher risk of testing positive for veterans with PTSD for OIF/OEF veterans using the VA healthcare system, among African Americans, veterans that were in the Army, and veterans on active duty. This trend held true on a decreased level for non-deployed veterans with PTSD. Deployed men had a higher chance of PTSD among veterans as compared to women, but this was not true of the non-deployed.
Veterans with PTSD are so common it’s become a major public health issue, especially among OIF/OEF-era veterans. It’s clear that this should not be thought of an outcome related only to deployment.
Looking at the prevalence of PTSD among veterans from Vietnam, it’s clear that the increase in PTSD among veterans in general will have major repercussions for veterans with PTSD as well as for the VA.
Thousands of veterans from the Vietnam era with PTSD still suffer from it, and it’s been 41 years since the war ended, according to a recent study mandated by congress.
Researchers also discovered that veterans from the Vietnam War who showed symptoms of PTSD in the mid-‘80s had double the risk of death over the following 25 years, as compared to a similar sub-group of veterans who didn’t suffer from PTSD.
Estimates from the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS) show that currently the prevalence of PTSD occurring in Vietnam veterans who experienced combat is 11.2%. This means that about 283,000 male veterans and 400 female veterans from the Vietnam Ware are living today with PTSD. If you need help coping with PTSD, please call us today!