Relatively few members of Canada’s armed forces suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, suggests a surprising new study that comes amid continuing concern about the after-effects of the Afghanistan war.
But even the scientists behind the analysis of federal survey data say it’s missing a key ingredient, and underscores the pressing need for more research.
The survey includes the responses only of active military personnel – omitting the experience of troops who have left the Forces, sometimes because their psychological troubles required them to quit.
No one has empirically studied the veteran population in Canada and, without that, it is impossible to get a complete picture of PTSD in the military, said Alain Brunet, the McGill University psychiatry professor who led the analysis.
“I am without a doubt convinced that this is an under-representation of the true state of affairs,” he said. “The only way to know how traumatic this job is, is to follow a cohort while they’re in the army, and once they leave.”
Meanwhile, the same data offers clear evidence that troops suffering from PTSD are several times more likely than others to have suicidal thoughts, Brunet said.
And Ruth Lanius, a leading PTSD expert at Western University in London, Ont., says other research suggests that soldiers who actually saw combat in Afghanistan have suffered higher-than-normal rates of the condition.Read more HERE