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Journal article Full text available online for free

Acute military psychiatric casualties from the war in Iraq

Authors:
TURNER Mark A., et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 186(6), June 2005, pp.476-479.
Publisher:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The view that most military personnel evacuated from war zones are suffering from combat stress reactions, or are otherwise traumatised by the horrors of war, has an impact on all aspects of military psychiatry. The aim was to delineate the reasons for psychiatric aeromedical evacuation from Iraq from the start of build-up of UK forces in January 2003 until the end of October that year, 6 months after the end of formal hostilities.  A retrospective study was conducted of field and in-patient psychiatric assessments of 116 military personnel evacuated to the UK military psychiatric in-patient facility in Catterick Garrison.  Evacuees were mainly non-combatants (69%). A significant proportion were in reserve service (21%) and had a history of contact with mental health services (37%). Only 3% had a combat stress reaction. In over 85% of cases evacuation was for low mood attributed to separation from friends or family, or difficulties adjusting to the environment. These findings have implications especially for screening for suitability for deployment, and for understanding any longer-term mental health problems arising in veterans from Iraq.

Journal article Full text available online for free

Going to war does not have to hurt: preliminary findings from the British deployment to Iraq

Authors:
HUGHES Jamie Hacker, et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 186(6), June 2005, pp.536-537.
Publisher:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The authors carried out a brief longitudinal mental health screen of 254 members of the UK's Air Assault Brigade before and after deployment to Iraq last year. Analysis of General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) scores before and after deployment revealed a lower score after deployment (mean difference=0.93, 95% CI 0.35-1.52). This indicated a highly significant relative improvement in mental health (P < 0.005). Moreover, only 9 of a larger sample of 421 (2%) exceeded cut-off criteria on the Trauma Screening Questionnaire. These findings suggest that war is not necessarily bad for psychological health.

Journal article Full text available online for free

War-related psychological stressors and risk of psychological disorders in Australian veterans of the 1991 Gulf War

Authors:
IKIN J. F., et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 185(8), August 2004, pp.116-126.
Publisher:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The aim was to measure psychological disorders in Australian Gulf War veterans and a military comparison group and to explore any association with exposure to Gulf War-related psychological stressors. Prevalences of DSM-IV psychological disorders were measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Gulf War-related psychological stressors were measured using a service experience questionnaire. A total of 31% of male Gulf War veterans and 21% of the comparison group met criteria for a DSM-IV disorder first present in the post-Gulf War period. The veterans were at greater risk of developing post-Gulf War anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, affective disorders and substance use disorders. The prevalence of such disorders remained elevated a decade after deployment. The findings can be explained partly as a ‘war-deployment effect’. There was a strong dose-response relationship between psychological disorders and number of reported Gulf War-related psychological stressors. Service in the 1991 Gulf War is associated with increased risk of psychological disorders and these are related to stressful experiences.

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