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Women at war suffer more mental health problems than men


Summary of story from WTVR, 10.1.11.

Female soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions than men, a new study has found.

The Inspector General’s report was released on Monday by the Veterans’ Administration’s Office and Senator Mark Warner.

The report reviewed the continued challenges female veterans face in seeking treatment for combat-related stress at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

‘It became evident to me that this challenge was growing exponentially – in this conflict, perhaps higher than any other in the past – and that there was a particular concern in the changing nature in the conflict particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, in terms of our women veterans,’ said Warner.

The report found that female veterans continue to be denied services and treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a higher rate than men because women, by definition, don’t serve in combat roles.

PTSD is a serious psychological and physical condition that’s caused by very frightening or distressing events, such as military combat, terrorist attacks, or being held hostage.

It first came to prominence during the First World War after soldiers suffered harrowing experiences in the trenches.

Warner said the battle against the issues surrounding PTSD is on-going.

In 2009, the VA reported almost 20,000 female military veterans from both Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts had been diagnosed with some form of mental disorder, including nearly 8,500 women diagnosed specifically with PTSD.

Twice as many women are affected by PTSD at some point during their life as men.

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