Civics & Politics The Environment Health Economics Social Issues Full Archive
NOW on Demand
Week of 9.28.07

PTSD Facts and Figures

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after one experiences a traumatic event. The disorder is characterized by flashbacks of the event, nightmares, anxiety, avoidance, and social withdrawal. PTSD may take months or years to manifest.

Facts and Figures

  • The following factors increase the likelihood of PTSD: Youth, a history of depression or trauma, multiple deployments, and relentless exposure to violence.

  • 30.9% of Vietnam veterans in one study had developed PTSD during their lifetimes.

  • Between 1999 and 2004, the number of veterans seeking benefits for PTSD increased 79%.

  • In Iraq, roughly one in six combatants has experienced PTSD.

  • 35 percent of Iraq veterans sought psychological counseling within a year of coming home, according to the Department of Defense.


Department of Veterans Affairs: National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, 1988.

Archives of Internal Medicine: Bringing the War Back Home, Karen H. Seal, MD, MPH; Daniel Bertenthal, MPH; Christian R. Miner, PhD; Saunak Sen, PhD; Charles Marmar, MD, March 2007.

Veterans Administration: Investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, 2005.

Department of Defense: The Psychological Needs of U.S. Military Service Members and Their Families: A Preliminary Report, February 2007.