WASHINGTON.— Almost 300,000 U.S. soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan — the equivalent of one out of every five veterans of those wars — are suffering from depression and other psychological disorders, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, a think tank.
The report, titled “Invisible Wounds of War,” also says that about 20 percent of those who return from military missions in the region have suffered probable traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The 500-page report, published on the website www.rand.org, notes that soldiers have reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or serious depression, but only a little over half of them have sought treatment, because they are worried it will jeopardize their careers.
The researchers who produced the study, the first major one of its kind, warned that these health problems among veterans could cost the United States up to $6.2 billion in the coming years, with that figure based on “medical care, forgone productivity and lost lives through suicide.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) refers to a state of anxiety that can emerge after having suffered or witnessed a trauma — rape, war, natural disasters, abuse or serious accidents — that has caused extreme horror.