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March 23, 2006
The Iraq War and Serviceman Mental Illness
Read more... Schizophrenia Causes, Risk Factors & Prevention
As should be expected the high-stress of participating in the Iraq war combined with the fact that many US servicemen (and women) come from under-priviledged backgrounds (i.e. low income, poor nutrition, poor social environments, and high stress urban households - all of which are factors that have been linked with increased risk of mental illness) is resulting in the triggering of very high rates of mental illness in US servicemen and women. The high stress of war is the last place you would want to place these high-risk people.
The San Diego Tribune further reported that because of the shortfalls in new recruits, the military is shipping back to Iraq people who already have mental health problems.
The story reported:
"Besides bringing antibiotics and painkillers, military personnel nationwide are heading back to Iraq with a cache of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications.
The psychotropic drugs are a bow to a little-discussed truth fraught with implications: Mentally ill service members are being returned to combat. ...
Sen. Barbara Boxer hopes to address the controversy through the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, which is expected to start work next month. The California Democrat wrote the legislation that created the panel. She wants the task force to examine deployment policies and the quality and availability of mental-health care for the military.
"We've also heard reports that doctors are being encouraged not to identify mental-health illness in our troops. I am asking for a lot of answers," Boxer said during a March 8 telephone interview. "If people are suffering from mental-health problems, they should not be sent on the battlefield."
additionally, the story reported:
"A Pentagon survey released last month found that 35 percent of the troops returning from Iraq had received psychological counseling during their first year home.
That survey echoed statistics collected by the San Diego Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. The system has found that about 33 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The various studies apparently didn't consider the effects of multiple combat tours, though psychiatrists agree that the greater people's exposure to combat, generally the higher their risk of suffering mental illness."
Posted by szadmin at March 23, 2006 09:37 AM
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