Government must step up to fight PTSD

Published 5:47 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A new report suggests the War in Iraq may have a lasting impact on many more soldiers than the military has planned for.

According to an Associated Press report Tuesday, 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder since 2003 — and many more may be keeping their illness a secret.

The Army reported more than 10,000 new PTSD cases last year, up from 6,800 new cases the year before, and other branches have been showing similar trends.

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Whether it requires intense counseling or shorter tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military should pay close attention to the effects of war on even the most hardened soldiers. Fighting men and women will need to reintegrate into society once they return. According to the Pentagon, up to 20 percent of soldiers return home with symptoms of mental health problems. That could mean PTSD or just anxiety, but either way, the military should be taking steps to keep troops as healthy — both physically and mentally — as it possibly can.