A select group of military members may be at a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress symptoms after deployment, according to a new report. The findings reveal that service members that deploy with a history of prior mental health issues, and those who sustain an injury during deployment, are more likely to develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress than their peers. “The relationship between pre-injury psychiatric status and post-injury post traumatic stress is not well understood because studies have used retrospective methods,” the authors said. “The primary objective of our study was to prospectively assess the relationship of self-reported pre-injury psychiatric status and injury severity with post-traumatic stress among those deployed in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The research also contained various external and demographic factors that would influence the onset of post-traumatic stress after deployment.
The research was compiled from questionnaires received from 22,630 military personnel that outlined their psychiatric states before and after deployment. If they were injured as a result of the deployment, this was considered as well. The personnel were chosen based on their participation in a previous study designed to determine the overall state of health before, during and after a tour of service, called the Millennium Cohort Study, which included members from every branch of service.
The results of this latest research revealed that members who reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress prior to deployment were five times more likely to develop symptoms upon their return home. Likewise, members who participated in the survey with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression prior to deployment had nearly three times the odds of developing post-traumatic stress after their return. Military personnel who sustained injuries as a result of their deployment were also more likely to show post-traumatic stress symptoms than those who were not injured. In a related article, the authors concluded by saying that the new data may open future avenues of pre-deployment treatment that could decrease the significance of any mental health issues after deployment.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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