The conversation around post-traumatic stress disorder leaves out one segment of the military population. But it’s likely not for malicious reasons.
One estimate puts the rate of PTSD for civilian contractors in service at about 25 percent, compared to 6 percent within the civilian non-military population, and the estimated range of 8 – 20 percent among service members.
American service members put so much on the line for their country that it’s hard to take any attention away from them and their plight as they bear the brunt of the physical and mental damage that comes from military services.
So far, we’ve shared just one stat. But PTSD military statistics get only more and more troubling the more you look at the numbers.
Men and Women are Equally At Risk for PTSD
There are many misconceptions about PTSD. One of the most basic misunderstandings is who is at risk. The short answer here is this: everyone! There is no one group that is more or less predisposed to developing or not developing PTSD.
Some suggest that there is a difference among men and women and rates of PTSD. There is not, at least according to one large scale study. The study finds no difference between men and women who are deployed and experience PTSD.
But there is a major difference that is worth noting.
Women Are Primary Targets of Sex Crimes
Sexual abuse of women in the military is on the rise. Women by and away are targets of these kinds of abuse. While women are only 20 percent of the military population, they are targets of nearly 70 percent of sex abuse reported in the military.
This translates to sexual abuse being the largest cause of PTSD in military women. Of those that are abused, about 70 percent end up developing PTSD.
PTSD Military Statistics by Theater of Service
The U.S. is home to a wide range of veterans who served in different theaters of war. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides these statistics on the rates of PTSD based on where veterans have served.
- Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operations Enduring Freedom: between 11 to 20 percent of veterans from those conflicts have PTSD in a year;
- The Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm: 12 percent experience PTSD
- The Vietnam War: 15 percent are currently diagnosed for the VA survey
A note on the last point: it’s estimated that as many as 30 percent of Vietnam vets had PTSD at some point.
The VA is a clear and established resource for the military, but there isn’t as clear of a path for contractors. But there is a place to start if you are a contractor.
Don’t Go It Alone
If there is any lesson from PTSD military statistics it’s that it’s no good to go alone. The struggle of those with PTSD is one of unrelenting pain, a pain that others can help with.
Reach out today to learn about what your rights are and how we can help.