The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest combat operations since Vietnam. These and other factors can increase their chances of having PTSD or other mental health problems.
Many stressors face these Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) troops. For many service members, being away from home for long periods of time can cause problems at home or work. This may be even more so for National Guard and Reserve troops who had not expected to be away for so long.
This table describes the kinds of stressors faced in each combat theater in 2003: Soldiers and Marines who had more combat stressors had more mental health problems.
Research studies have found that certain factors make it more likely that OEF/OIF service members will develop PTSD.
However, many Veterans with mental health problems have not come in for services.
Reasons that some Veterans have given for not getting treatment include: To address these concerns, VA is reaching out to OEF/OIF Veterans. Our Returning from the War Zone guides also provide help and support to returning service members and their families.
Among military veterans, the most common service-connected disabilities are hearing impairments (2), suggesting that occupational noise exposure during military service might cause more veterans to have hearing loss than nonveterans.
However, a recent analysis of data from the 1993--1995 Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study did not find significant differences between the two groups (3).