05-14-2010, 05:03 AM
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05-14-2010, 05:04 AM
Mental health is the leading cause of hospitalizations in the military.
Source: Defense Department
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By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Mental health disorders caused more hospitalizations among U.S. troops in 2009 than any other reason according to medical data released recently by the Pentagon. This historic high reflects the growing toll of nearly nine years of war.
Last year was the first in which hospitalizations for mental disorders outpaced those for injuries or pregnancies in the 15 years of tracking by the Pentagon's Medical Surveillance Monthly report.
Hospitalizations for mental disorders have increased significantly among troops since 2005, said Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, surgeon general for the Army. "War is difficult. It takes a toll," he said.
Mental health treatment expenses are helping drive up the overall cost of military health care, USA TODAY reported last month. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a speech that "health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive." Schoomaker said the Army's increased attention to mental health issues is another reason for the rise in hospital admittances.
In 2009, there were 17,538 hospitalizations for mental health issues throughout the military, the study shows. That compares with 17,354 for pregnancy and childbirth reasons, and 11,156 for injuries and battle wounds.
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In 2007, there were 18,201 pregnancy and childbirth hospitalizations, 13,703 for mental health and 12,531 for injury and battle wounds, statistics show. In 2005, mental health was the third leading cause with 11,335.
Mental health care accounted for almost 40% of all days spent in hospitals by servicemembers last year, the report said. Of those hospitalizations, 5% lasted longer than 33 days. For most other conditions, fewer than 5% of hospitalizations exceeded 12 days, the report said.
Psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder exact a toll in lost manpower, the study said. Four mental health issues — depression, substance abuse, anxiety and adjustment problems such as PTSD — cost the Pentagon 488 years of lost duty in 2009.
That's "the equivalent of 488 soldiers spending an entire year in the hospital for mental disorders," said Army Col. Robert DeFraites, director of the office which produced the study.
The Pentagon is learning that mental health issues can take months or years to develop, he said. "Mental disorders are a trailing indicator of health issues to a prolonged period of war fighting, and these figures reflect that," DeFraites said.
"Our troops are facing multiple deployments and experiencing psychological stress due to prolonged exposure to combat," said Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.
The Army, which has 138,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, had 10,222 mental health hospitalizations last year. They accounted for almost 19% of all Army hospitalizations.
Ten percent of Marine hospitalizations were for mental health reasons, while they were about 8% for the Navy and 7% for the Air Force.
05-14-2010, 05:11 AM
Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.
A broken arrow, but do we dream?
We drafted Quinn in the second.
Immortals... we put their name to the test.
We finished 2-8.
That's reality, buy a clue.
I am reality. There's the way it ought to be, and there's the way it is.
We should of drafted Emilio Estevez.
05-14-2010, 05:16 AM
We are werarig down like Nazi Gemany...
Superior weapons, but still.
WTF are we doing protecting poppy fields?
05-14-2010, 05:23 AM
We finished 2-8.
That's reality, buy a clue
We'll have the enemy destroyed by October.
05-14-2010, 05:57 AM
Barnes ain't meant to die.
The only thing that can kill Barnes is Barnes.