Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Both Men and Women Troops Need Full MH Evaluation

It is critical that both men and women who have served in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan be evaluated for a full range of combat exposures, said researchers for the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Female troops reported higher levels of combat exposure in this new study than in previous surveys, wrote Shira Maguen, Ph.D., of the San Francisco VA Medical Center and colleagues online December 21 in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

The study also found that men had more high-intensity combat experiences than women, yet PTSD rates were similar regardless of gender. The association between injury and PTSD was stronger for women than for men, and women were more likely to have experienced military-related sexual trauma than men were. Women were more likely to report depressive symptoms, while men were more apt to acknowledge  problem drinking. Clinicians should be aware of these differences, particularly injury, said the authors, “as not all types of combat experiences may be equally experienced by men and women returning from military deployments."

To read more about veterans’ mental health in Psychiatric News, click here.

(Image: Tracy Whiteside/


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