PTSD Symptoms Persist for Thousands of Vietnam Vets, Study Finds

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“PTSD is considered an anxiety disorder. People may feel afraid when they’re no longer in danger, or continue to relive traumatic events. They have a damaged “fight-or-flight response,” says the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
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Several ways exist to measure and diagnose PTSD. This study used measures ranging from full PTSD to major symptoms falling just short of a diagnosis, an important aspect of the study, said Rachel Yehuda, director of the Mental Health Patient Care Center at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City.
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“The idea of ‘subthreshold’ PTSD is extremely important. We tend to think of combat veterans as having or not having PTSD,” Yehuda said. “This study reminds us that the effects of combat trauma really do last a long time and justifies the long-term treatment that combat veterans receive.”
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Depending on the measure, the study showed between 4.5 percent and 11.2 percent of men and between 6.1 and 8.7 percent of women are experiencing serious PTSD symptoms. When the authors applied these numbers to the number of veterans who served in Vietnam and are still living, they calculated that approximately 271,000 men and women are suffering from PTSD symptoms.
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Among all those with PTSD, 37 percent also had major depression, and 16 percent reported a major increase in symptoms since the earlier interview, compared to 8 percent whose symptoms had significantly decreased.”
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