Originally published in the Wharton Public Policy Initiative’s Student Blog, written by NeuroFlow Associate Sitara Shirol and Matthew Current
One in every four active duty members of the United States military exhibit symptoms of mental illness, which are mostly the manifestation of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or transition stress. The lifetime prevalence of depression and PTSD are five and fifteen times higher respectively when comparing veterans to civilians.
Much of the focus on veterans’ mental illnesses centers around PTSD, which often results from their time on the frontlines. While the high rates of PTSD and TBI in veteran populations can be partially explained by the symptoms and brain injuries that arise out of active duty, there are also a lot of stressors veterans face after returning home. It is an inescapable fact: serving in the armed forces and returning to civilian life afterwards is difficult. Transition stress encompasses all of the pressures that veterans face when transitioning back into civilian life, which can also trigger mental health consequences. The extreme physical and mental duress that the men and women serving in the United States Military experience, both while serving and while transitioning back to civilian life, can trigger and exacerbate mental health issues.
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