Military Connection: Canadian PTSD Study Findings: By Debbie Gregory

Canadian researchA recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry claims that having a history of mental illness puts military service members at higher risk of posttraumatic stress disorder after a combat mission.

The study was based on data collected during more than 16,000 post-deployment interviews with Canadian service members who served in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012. The study found that over 10% of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan had at least one common mental health problem after returning, including depression and PTSD.

The Canadian research also found a notable connection between service members who had previously been treated for mental health issues and post-deployment mental health problems. But the researchers claim that it would be wrong to screen military personnel based on previous mental health treatment, because many other military personnel who had previously sought mental health treatment were in good post-deployment mental health.

The researchers say that additional inquiries should be made in order to better understand why some military personnel with risk factors, including a history of mental health problems, did well after deployment to Afghanistan, while others did not.

These findings differ from earlier studies conducted by research teams from the U.S. The Canadian study found that Reservists were at no greater risk of PTSD and other mental health problems than regular forces. U.S. research found that Reservists were at a greater risk for PTSD and depression.

One interesting finding in the study was that French-speaking Canadians were less likely to suffer from PTSD and other combat stress related mental health issues than English-speaking Canadians.

The Canadian study also concluded that longer or multiple deployments did not appear to be risk factors. But exposure to combat had a strong correlation to later mental health problems.

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Military Connection: Canadian PTSD Study Findings: By Debbie Gregory