Prevalence of Somatic and Psychiatric Disorders Among Former Prisoners of War

Hospital and Community Psychiatry - 1991-08-01Eberly RE, Engdahl B10.1176/ps.42.8.807
American former prisoners of war (POWs) are an aging group who seek health care with increasing frequency. To examine the prevalence of long-term physical and emotional consequences of captivity in this population, the authors analyzed medical and psychiatric examination data for 426 former POWs. Detailed psychiatric diagnostic criteria were used to assess the POWs' mental health. Compared with general population groups, POWs had moderately elevated lifetime prevalence rates of depressive disorders and greatly elevated rates of
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A complex psychiatric syndrome that develops in response to trauma exposure. Individuals with PTSD experience intrusive recollections or reexperiencing of the traumatic event, avoidance of trauma reminders, emotional numbing, and hyperarousal. In addition, PTSD is associated with high rates of concomitant physical and mental health problems, increased health care use, and impairment in social and occupational functioning. Almost 7% of the general population and up to 30% of veterans meet lifetime criteria for PTSD. Indeed, PTSD is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, representing a significant and costly public health concern.
, although their rates of hypertension, diabetes, myocardial infarction, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcoholism were not elevated. POWs who lost more than 35 percent of their body weight during captivity had higher rates of anxiety disorder, depressive disorders,
PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A complex psychiatric syndrome that develops in response to trauma exposure. Individuals with PTSD experience intrusive recollections or reexperiencing of the traumatic event, avoidance of trauma reminders, emotional numbing, and hyperarousal. In addition, PTSD is associated with high rates of concomitant physical and mental health problems, increased health care use, and impairment in social and occupational functioning. Almost 7% of the general population and up to 30% of veterans meet lifetime criteria for PTSD. Indeed, PTSD is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, representing a significant and costly public health concern.
, and schizophrenia, compared with other POWs.