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Troops Face Varied Mental Disorders

Troops Face Varied Mental DisordersAlthough post-traumatic stress disorder receives considerable attention as the main source of mental disorders among soldiers, a new UK study suggests otherwise.

Common mental disorders, such as depression and alcohol misuse, were found to be the top psychological problems amongst UK troops post-deployment.

The study, found in the open access journal, BMC Psychiatry, also finds that reservists remain at special risk of operational stress injury.

Since the beginning of the Iraq conflict, over 100,000 UK Service personnel have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. These personnel are at increased risk of operational stress injury, such as mental health problems.

However a detailed clinical picture of their specific health needs has previously been lacking in the UK.

A study conducted by Dr. Amy Iversen and colleagues from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research and the Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, UK, reports that alcohol abuse is the most common mental health disorder amongst UK Service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, with disorders such as depression and anxiety being second most common.

Dr. Iversen said, “Although our perception is that PTSD symptoms are the main source of psychiatric illness in Service personnel, alcohol misuse and depressive disorders are actually much more common. Prevention and intervention in these areas should be high priority.”

The London-based team set out to assess the prevalence and risk factors for common mental health disorders and PTSD amongst the UK military, as well as to compare the data with that from US forces. A total of 821 participants undertook a structured telephone interview, which included the Patient Health Questionnaire.

They found that the prevalence of all common mental disorders was 27.2 percent, and PTSD symptoms, 4.8 percent. There were no substantial differences in the prevalence of PTSD symptoms between US and UK troops deployed to Iraq, which had been previously found.

In UK troops, the most common diagnoses were alcohol abuse (18.0 percent) and depression/anxiety (13.5 percent). The data also indicated that reservists who deployed to Iraq are at greater risk of psychiatric injury than regular personnel, thus initiatives in the UK to provide enhanced assistance to reservists are still pertinent.

Dr. Iversen concludes: “This research has helped build a detailed picture of the specific heath needs of the UK military. These data should be particularly valuable for health service planners, providers and policy makers.”

Source: BioMed Central

Troops Face Varied Mental Disorders

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Troops Face Varied Mental Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/11/02/troops-face-varied-mental-disorders/9274.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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