Nearly 30 percent of soldiers returning from combat in Iraq experience posttraumatic stress disorder or depression that affects their daily lives and activities. For as many as 14 percent of these veterans, PTSD and depression can cause severe impairment.
Assessing health surveys from more than 13,000 Army and National Guard infantrymen who fought in Iraq, a new Archives of General Psychiatry study has determined that between 9 and 14 percent of the soldiers were diagnosed with PTSD or depression resulting in serious impairment, while 23 to 31 percent experienced some degree of impairment.
The pre-deployment rate of PTSD and depression among the soldiers was about 3 to 5 percent, equivalent to that seen in the general population.
The risk of mental health problems may be more persistent among National Guard soldiers. A greater proportion of men and women in the National Guard than in the Army were diagnosed with PTSD and depression one year after their return.
The standard time between deployments, 12 to 18 months, may not be sufficient for many soldiers to recover, the study suggests.
Acupuncture can be an effective addition to treatment regimens for PTSD, alleviating symptoms. PTSD symptoms acupuncture treats include:
AMC’s Community Clinic offers free acupuncture to veterans on Fridays. If you are a veteran, call (305) 595-9500 to schedule your free acupuncture appointment. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.