Friday, May 18, 2012

Mental illness is the leading cause of hospitalization for active-duty troops

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have spent almost $2 billion since 2001 to buy drugs to treat mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder despite growing evidence some of those drugs exacerbate PTSD symptoms, a Nextgov investigation shows. In addition, military research released this week highlighted that Defense faces what one Army clinician called an epidemic of mental illness.

Despite this vast expenditure on psychotropic drugs since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, mental illness ranks as the leading cause of hospitalization for active-duty troops, according to a report published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in the April issue of its Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, released May 14. Mental health disorders stood out as the leading cause of hospitalization of active-duty service members in 2007, 2009 and 2011, the report noted.

AFHSC also reported that troops seeking help for mental health problems ranked third in outpatient visits in all treatment categories, behind unspecified “other” conditions -- which included routine physicals, immunizations and predeployment assessments -- and musculoskeletal injuries during the same time period

Read the entire article here.
Read the entire Broken Warriors Series.
-- submitted by Stan White

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