Effect of deployment on mental health of soldiers: common disorders and alcohol misuse more frequent than PTSD

This Lancet study examined the consequences of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan on the mental health of UK armed forces from 2003 to 2009.

9990 (56%) participants completed the study questionnaire (roughly 8000 regulars, 1700 reservists).

The prevalence was:

- 19·7% for symptoms of common mental disorders
- 13% for alcohol misuse
- 4% for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan was significantly associated with alcohol misuse for regulars (odds ratio 1·22) and with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for reservists (2·83)

Symptoms of common mental disorders and alcohol misuse remain the most frequently reported mental disorders in UK armed forces personnel, whereas the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was low.

Image source: The Los Angeles Times.

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