Nearly 1 in 5 Iraq Vets Reports Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The first large-scale, nongovernmental assessment of the psychological needs of U.S. troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past six years finds that 20 percent of military troops who have returned from war—some 300,000 total—report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Slightly more than half have sought treatment, according to the study by Rand.

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The first large-scale, nongovernmental assessment of the psychological needs of U.S. troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past six years finds that 20 percent of military troops who have returned from war—some 300,000 total—report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Slightly more than half have sought treatment, according to the study by Rand.

Rand researchers estimate that PTSD and depression among returning U.S. troops will cost America some $5.2 billion in the first two years after their return. Since 2001, about 1.6 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

According to the study, early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of the deployments may be disproportionately high compared with the physical injuries.

Researchers surveyed 1,965 U.S. troops across the country. Half said they had a friend who was seriously wounded or killed, 45 percent said they saw dead or seriously injured civilians, and over 10 percent said they were personally injured and required hospitalization.

—Anna Mulrine