Study downplaying military suicide-PTSD link questioned | Al Jazeera America
United States military veteran suicide is an ongoing phenomenon regarding a reportedly high rate of suicide among U.S. military veterans, in comparison to the general public. According to the most recent report published by the United States The Army suffered 52% of the suicides from all branches. In , the VA. Research in Australia and the US also shows that male veterans are nearly In short, there is a presumed connection between combat, trauma. The steady annual increase in the number of military suicides following the U.S.- led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is often assumed to be.
Research has instead focused on suicidal ideation and suicide attempts because completed suicide is a relatively rare event and it is difficult to obtain information on most predictors of suicide risk once the suicide has occurred. Suicidal ideation and attempt research is important; however, it is not a substitute for studies of suicide completion because there are important differences between suicidal ideation and attempt and suicide completion.
For example, males are more likely than females to complete suicide, but females are more likely than males to attempt suicide 3. Although studies of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts are inadequate surrogates for studies of completed suicide, they can provide a foundation for hypotheses about the causes of completed suicide.
In a review of the studies published on anxiety disorders and suicidal behavior between January and Mayan association between PTSD and suicidal behavior was found in all studies that examined PTSD 6. A clear association between PTSD and suicidal behavior was also highlighted in a recent review of studies specific to the relation between PTSD and suicide 7.
In a nationally representative, cross-sectional psychiatric survey conducted in the United States, PTSD was associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, with odds ratios of 2. These associations have also been shown among patients with chronic PTSD 9.
Suicidal ideation in military veterans with alcohol dependence and PTSD: The role of hostility.
Given the strong association between PTSD and suicidal behavior but the absence of research on the association between PTSD and completed suicide, we aimed to examine this latter relation. We hypothesized that PTSD would be associated with a higher rate of completed suicide compared with the rate of completed suicide among similar adults without a diagnosis of PTSD.
In addition, we examined comorbid psychiatric diagnoses as modifiers of this association. Denmark is an ideal location to study rare events, such as completed suicide, given the availability of high-quality, longitudinal, population-level data with complete follow-up. We defined cases as having completed suicide between January 1,and December 31,yielding 9, cases.
When 30 or fewer controls matched, all were selected. When more than 30 controls matched, we selected a random sample of This procedure yieldedcontrols. Data collection Data for the current study were obtained from various Danish medical and administrative registries.
How Trauma in the Military Can Lead to PTSD — and How to Find Relief for Yourself or a Loved One
The Cause-of-Death Register contains information on the cause and date of all deaths that occur in Denmark. All data are sent to the department with written case summaries, which are reviewed by an independent psychiatrist to confirm the assigned diagnoses There has been a historic tendency to assume that combat roles are the most dangerous, violent, and important jobs in the military.
Combat units are often understood to be on the "frontlines" of warfare and at the "tip of the spear", as the most exposed and vulnerable units. Australian soldiers on a combat service support mission in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Australian Defence Force But growing research about the nature of counterinsurgency warfare tells us that there has not been a "frontline" in war for decades and that everyone serving in war zones — from medics to infantry officers — is vulnerable to violence and witnessing traumatic events.
Why military suicides are so common: the answer isn't combat
Blaming military suicide on combat exposure not only reaffirms the myth that combat is more dangerous, or a place where only the toughest soldiers serve, it takes attention away from other factors that might contribute to military suicide. Available research indicates it is young men with poor psychosocial support networks and a history of depression and substance abuse who are among the most at risk for suicide. Nearly half of the service members leaving the ADF experience mental disorders.
Similar research in the US found that service members had rates of depression five times that of civilians.
The high rates of military sexual violence may help explain these high rates. Nearly 30 per cent of US female service members and about 25 per cent of Australian female service members experience sexual assault or harassment on the job.
This can lead to military sexual traumawhich negatively impacts mental health and is statistically connected to PTSD. Given that military sexual assault is not declining in the US or Australia, this issue should be explored in the context of military suicide.
PTSD in the Military: Statistics, Causes, Treatment, and More | Everyday Health
The combat exposure myth oversimplifies the issue of military suicide. It helps sustain outdated ideas of frontline warfare and overlooks some of the complex risk factors for service members and veterans, including mental health and military sexual violence.
Suicide impacts families, military morale, and public perceptions of the institution. The misperception could lead to ineffective policy responses, and less attention and resources to service members who have not experienced combat.