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The Army finally admits it: Soldiers suffer stress while in combat

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:32pm

Hard to believe that the Army once considered post-traumatic stress disorder to be a made-up malady. Now the armed services uses terms such as "skyrocketing" to describe PTSD.

The number of Army troops suffering from severe combat stress is skyrocketing, rising from just over 1,000 new cases in 2003 to more than 28,000 soldiers today diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the Army surgeon general said in the Associated Press.

Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, the Army's top medical officer, said that he does not know how many additional soldiers suffer from lesser symptoms of combat stress, such as hyper-vigilance, sleeplessness and irrational anger, and does not know how many of these soldiers are receiving treatment, according to the AP.

Schoomaker also said that the Army has inadequate facilities and too few mental health care providers.

"As a nation, our mental health capability is not adequate to the need," and the Army suffers from the same problem, Schoomaker told defense reporters. He said the Army recognizes it needs 300 more top mental health professionals to care for the growing numbers of soldiers suffering from severe stress. It has filled only 180 of those positions, according to the AP.

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