David Nobilese yawns and rubs his face at the beginning of a Post Deployment Health Reassessment event in 2007. A new study shows some 20 percent of soldiers entering service had suffered mental illnesses.
Common mental problems such as depression and panic attacks affect about 20% of people who enlist in the Army, a new psychiatric study reveals.
Nearly one in 5 enlisting soldiers has suffered such afflictions, casting doubt on military assessments of enlistees.
Published by JAMA Psychiatry, two surveys showed more 8% had considered taking their own life, with 1.1% saying they had attempted suicide. Confidential surveys and interviews were conducted with 5,428 personnel at Army bases around the U.S.
Jae C. Hong/AP
New surveys show that more 8% of US Army soldiers had considered suicide in the past, raising questions about screening of enlistees.
“The question becomes, ‘How did these guys get in the Army'” said Harvard University sociologist Ronald Kessler, who led one study.
Another inquiry studied increased suicide rates among Army members from 2004 to 2009 who had served in Afghanistan or Iraq. Increased suicides were also found among soldiers who had not been deployed, but no reason was given for the cause.
More than 8% of soldiers entering the Army had intermittent explosive disorder, defined by attacks of seething rage. Its prevalence rate was nearly six times the rate among civilians.
Ted S. Warren/AP
This app introduced by the U.S. military in 2011is designed to calm symptoms of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. But a new study shows higher numbers of recruits had mental problems
“The kind of people who join the Army are not typical people. They have a lot more acting-out kind of mental disorders. They get into fights more,” Kessler said.
During their terms of service , the soldiers experienced increased rates of mental disorders. Some 25% were determined to be experiencing psychiatric problems: 6% had depression, about 9% suffered PTSD and the number of soldiers who attempted suicide rose from 1.1 % to 2.4 %.
One reason for the rise in these figures may have been the rush to fill ranks during the Afghanistan and Iraq war years, with recruiters telling enlistees to not volunteer that they had mental health afflictions.