PARTICIPANTS: A total of 18,305 US Army soldiers from 4 Active Component and 2 National Guard infantry brigade combat teams.
Between 2004 and 2007, anonymous mental health surveys were collected at 3 and 12 months following deployment among 18,305 US Army soldiers, to measure current PTSD, depression, functional impairment, alcohol misuse, and aggressive behavior.
Prevalence rates for PTSD or depression with serious functional impairment ranged between 8.5% and 14.0%, with some degree of impairment between 23.2% and 31.1%. Alcohol misuse or aggressive behavior comorbidity was present in approximately half of the cases. Rates remained stable for the Active Component soldiers but increased across all case definitions from the 3- to 12-month time point for National Guard soldiers.
The study concludes that prevalence rates of PTSD and depression after returning from combat ranged from 9% to 31% depending on the level of functional impairment reported. The high comorbidity with alcohol misuse and aggression highlights the need for comprehensive post-deployment screening. Persistent or increased prevalence rates at 12 months compared with 3 months post-deployment illustrate the persistent effects of war zone service and provide important data to guide post-deployment care.