Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Service Utilization in a Sample of Service Members from Iraq and Afghanistan
permalinkMilitary Medicine - 2007-04-01Erbes CR, Westermeyer JJ, Engdahl B, Johnson E10.7205/MILMED.172.4.359Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), depression, alcohol abuse, quality of life, and mental health service utilization among returnees from Operation Enduring Freedom and
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Methods: One hundred twenty returnees, enrolled for health care at a midwestern Veterans Affairs medical center, completed questionnaires approximately 6 months after their return from deployment. Results:
PTSDlevels (12%) were consistent with previous research while problematic drinking levels were also elevated (33%).
PTSDand, to a lesser degree, alcohol abuse were associated with lower quality of life in multiple domains, even when controlling for the influence of depression. Of those screening positive for
PTSD, 56% reported using mental health services. Only 18% of those screening positive for alcohol abuse reported using such services. Conclusions:
PTSDand alcohol problems are prevalent in Operation Enduring Freedom/
OIFreturnees and associated with lower quality of life. Mental health service utilization is limited, even among returnees enrolled for Veterans Affairs health care.