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Study Shows 'Higher Levels Of PTSD' Affecting More Veterans

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The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are creating more cases of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD in the United Kingdom.

A new study from researchers from the King's College in London found that the estimated overall rate of probable PTSD among members of the UK Armed Forces increased to 6 percent in 2014 to 2016.

The findings were published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

Increase In PTSD Cases

The significant increase of the overall probable rate of PTSD is primarily seen among ex-serving personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those who were deployed to the conflicts, the rate of probable PTSD for veterans was at 9 percent. In comparison, the rate of probable PTSD among veterans who were not deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan was 5 percent.

Meanwhile, the rate of probable PTSD among military personnel currently serving and deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan is 5 percent. The rate of probable PTSD among the civilian population is 4 percent.

"For the first time we have identified that the risk of PTSD for veterans deployed in conflicts was substantially higher than the risk for those still serving," explained Sharon Stevelink from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London and the lead author of the study. "While the increase among veterans is a concern, not every veteran has been deployed and in general only about one in three would have been deployed in a combat role."

Among the ex-servicemen who were deployed into combat, 17 percent reported symptoms of PTSD. Those who took on the role of medical, logistics, signals, and aircrew had a 6 percent rate of probable PTSD.

The research involved nearly 9,000 individuals, about 62 percent of which had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. It is part of the major study funded by the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom and has been running since 2003.

Alcoholism In Military Personnel

The researchers also looked at the cases of alcohol misuse and found that rate has decreased in the past two years. From 2014 to 2016, the rate of alcohol misuse among military personnel, current and ex-serving, dropped to 10 percent from 15 percent in 2004 to 2006.

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