Thursday, March 31, 2005

Operation Truth: PTSD Prevelance

There are two blog posts and an interesting conversation going on at Operation Truth about the prevelance of PTSD in Iraq right now.

The conversation was sparked by this article in the Marine Times, in which a Marine General questions the actual levels of PTSD in Iraq.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A top Marine commander has dismissed a study by The New England Journal of Medicine that estimated 17 percent of Iraq combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Dunford, assistant commander of 1st Marine Division, said the study’s basis came from checklist-type questionnaires filled out by U.S. troops. He said only about 1,000 of his Marines filled out the questionnaire, and most were members of 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. The division has roughly 45,000 Marines.

“It does not reflect all our experiences,” Dunford said during a roundtable discussion with reporters March 28 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The study, “Combat Duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Medical Health Problems, and Barriers to Care,” was published in July 2004 in the medical journal. It received answers from three Army combat infantry units and one Marine unit.

Dunford, a former 5th Marines regimental commander, acknowledged that the stress of combat tours has taken a toll on some members of his force, some whom, like him, have done two tours in the region. But the number of those seeking or receiving help so far, he said, is “statistically insignificant.”

“I would reject the study,” he added. “In no way are we seeing 17 percent.”