Heated battles undertaken under the threat of death and while killing and harming people—to say this would be stressful is an understatement. Several research studies have documented the effects of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on U.S. troops, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which massage therapy effectively addresses.
A new review indicates that veterans suffering from PTSD also suffer more medical illnesses than do those with no mental-health condition.
The findings, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggest that medical treatments may need to be closely integrated with mental-health services for this special population just returning from military service, according to a press release from Springer, which publishes the journal.
The authors analyzed data for more than 90,000 veterans who use Veterans Health Administration services to compare the number of diagnosed medical conditions suffered by returning soldiers with PTSD and by those with no mental-health condition.
The majority of both men and women had a diagnosed mental-health condition. Among the findings:
• Women with PTSD suffered more medical conditions than did those with no mental health condition, with a median value of 7 conditions versus 4.5.
• The most frequent medical conditions experienced by women were lower spine disorders, headache and lower extremity joint disorders.
• Men with PTSD also suffered more medical conditions than did those without mental health conditions, with a median value of 5 conditions versus 4.
• The most frequent medical conditions experienced by men were lower spine disorders, lower extremity joint disorders, and hearing problems.
“Health delivery systems serving our veterans with PTSD should align clinical services with their medical care needs, especially for common diagnoses like painful musculoskeletal conditions,” commented researcher to Dr. Susan Frayne, from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University.
“Looking to the future, the impetus for early intervention is evident,” Frayne continued. “If we recognize the excess burden of medical illness in veterans with PTSD who have recently returned from active service and we address their health care needs today, the elderly veterans of tomorrow may enjoy better health and quality of life.”