A new study by the Veterans Administration reveals nearly 30% of its patients who served in Iraq Afghanistan have PTSD.
By Jame Reno, The Daily Beast
The Department of Veterans Affairs has quietly released a new report on post-traumatic stress disorder, showing that since 9/11, nearly 30 percent of the 834,463Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Veterans advocates say the new V.A. report is the most damning evidence yet of the profound impact multiple deployments have had on American service men and women since 9/11. Troops who’ve been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan are more than three times as likely as soldiers with no previous deployments to screen positive for PTSD and major depression, according to a 2010 study published by the American Journal for Public Health.
The report, which revealed that 247,243 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been diagnosed with PTSD, was buried on the V.A.’s website without fanfare. “As far as we can tell, V.A. didn’t tell anyone these numbers were made public,” says veterans advocate Paul Sullivan at Bergmann & Moore, a law firm that focuses entirely on veteran disability issues. “No press release. Nothing. I actually found the report while searching for new data. I simply changed the V.A.’s web address from second quarter to third quarter by altering one digit, and the new numbers appeared. Magic, eh?”
Why was there evidently no effort to publicize these new PTSD numbers? Josh Taylor, a spokesman for the V.A., would not directly answer that question, but toldThe Daily Beast that the agency still estimates that the overall PTSD rate is 20 percent across the entire population of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, not just those who have come to a V.A. facility and are reflected in the report that shows the rate at 30 percent.
Taylor says the 20 percent estimate comes from reviews of “current literature” regarding Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. But the most “current” piece of literature Taylor cites is a 2008 RAND Corp. study titled Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. The report was a collection of existing data on PTSD that was collected from April 2007 to January 2008 that also included a population-based survey of service members and veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq to assess health status and symptoms.
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