Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) affects roughly 24.4 million Americans. This is approximately 8% of our population. Women are twice as likely to develop this this disorder, and if you have been the unfortunate victim of a traumatic experience, you have a 60-80% chance that you may get it.
The cost to society annually due to anxiety disorders is way over $42.3 billion. This happens a lot due to mis-diagnosis and poor treatment. This number also includes psychiatric and non-psychiatric medical services fees, prescription drug costs, costs to the workplace and the cost of mortality.
People afflicted with PTSD have some of the highest rates of overall health care service use. Also, people who have PTSD present a wide range of symptoms. The cause of these symptoms often get overlooked, or mis-diagnosed as the result of past trauma.
- Combat veterans have a 10-30% chance of getting it in their lifetime.
- In just the past year, the number of cases that were diagnosed in the military went up 50%. Remember, that’s just the diagnosed cases.
- Studies have estimated that one out of every five military personnel that returned from Afghanistan and Iraq has PTSD.
- Roughly 20% of the troops who were deployed in the past six years have PTSD. That comes out to over 300,000.
- 17% of our soldiers are women.
- 71% of female troops develop PTSD because of sexual assault from within their own ranks.
These statistics are difficult to grasp for a variety of reasons. Should we only look at PTSD that has been diagnosed within 12 months of return from battle?
Do we only count the PTSD that affects a soldier’s abilities to return to battle, or remain employed, but that may have wrecked a family, or destroyed a marriage?
Is there the possibility to have been undiagnosed for PTSD for 20 plus years and not realize it?
Brief summary of statistics for PTSD, suicide and depression for our U.S. combat veterans.
- Back in September 2014, there were about 2.7 million American veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Compare this to the 2.6 million Vietnam veterans.
- Over 50% of those that have PTSD don’t get the treatment they need.
- Out of the half that actually do look for treatment, only 50% of them get “minimally adequate” treatment according to a RAND study.
- 19% of our vets have traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Over 260,000 vets so far have been diagnosed with TBI.
- 7% of combat vets have both PTSD and TBI.
Obviously PTSD can affect anyone due to a traumatic event, not just our veterans. However, the sacrifices made by our men and women serving the country in our armed forces deserve to get the recognition and treatment for this disease, and they need it now.
Public awareness of this disorder needs to be heightened in my opinion and not simply overlooked, or dismissed as “crazy.”
If you, or someone you know may be suffering from this disease, I strongly urge you to seek out the medical attention necessary for overcoming it. There are a variety of treatments to help you live the life you remembered before the war.