In the wake of the Fort Hood shooting recently, which has been traced to yet another veteran possibly battling symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to spotlight exactly how serious a challenge this is for the American military.
According to statistics, there are more than 2.3 million American veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Out of these, at least 20% of veterans who have served in both of these combat zones suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. In many cases, the post traumatic stress disorder is also combined with depression. The number of persons, who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, is actually higher when you combine the condition with traumatic brain injury. In other studies, the number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases among the veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan is 14%.
In spite of the fact, that this is such a common condition among veterans, as many as half of persons who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder do not seek treatment for the condition. Out of the 50% who do seek treatment for their condition, only approximately 50% get adequate treatment.
Add to this the fact, that veterans have a much higher rate of suicide compared to the general population, and you understand why the mental health challenges facing the American military are so severe and so under-addressed. According to some statistics, the PTSD rates are much greater for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, than any other conflicts in times of peace.
Unfortunately, with yet another shooting being linked to a military veteran allegedly suffering from symptom of PTSD, the misunderstanding that there currently is about PTSD is only likely to increase.