A new study has claimed one in every two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers remains undiagnosed.
A working group led by Hans-Ulrich Wittchen et al drew attention to the fact that thus far no information has been available on how commonly soldiers have traumatic experiences during deployments to Afghanistan and develop PSTD.
In their study, 85 percent of all soldiers deployed overseas reported at least one distressing event, but usually several such events. Overseas deployment is associated with twice or four times the risk of PTSD for soldiers.
In international comparison, the prevalence of PTSD is notably lower in German soldiers, at 2.9 percent than in soldiers from other countries who are deployed in the same regions. However, the estimated proportion of undiagnosed and untreated cases of PTSD is 45 percent
Kowalski et al. explain that it is not only Afghanistan from where soldiers return in a traumatized state but also Kosovo. The number of Kosovo returnees with mental problems in their study increased significantly compared to the number of traumatized soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
The study is based on hospital data of all German army psychiatric wards; these data evaluated the psychiatric morbidities between January 2010 through June 2011. The most common diagnoses were adjustment disorders, PSTD, and mild and moderate depressive episodes.
The study has been published in Deutsches Arzteblatt International.