Mental, Not Physical, Illness Hospitalizes Most US Troops
As mental illness increases, cost of care skyrockets
By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2010 2:35 PM CDT
Jesus Bocanegra, 24, walks in uniform to a Memorial Day weekend service May 27, 2006 in Benavides, Texas. Bocanegra has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – For the first time on record, more US troops were hospitalized for mental illness last year than for any other reason, according to new data from the Pentagon. The year saw 17,538 mental health hospitalizations, which narrowly topped childbirth (17,354) and far outstripped injuries or battle wounds (11,156). “War is difficult,” the Army's surgeon general tells USA Today. “It takes a toll.”

Complicating matters is the fact that mental ailments don't present as quickly as physical conditions. "Mental disorders are a trailing indicator of health issues to a prolonged period of war fighting, and these figures reflect that," says one official. Another explains: "Our troops are facing multiple deployments and experiencing psychological stress due to prolonged exposure to combat."

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
stevsie
May 15, 2010 6:57 AM CDT
killing people for no reason will F you up.
JonmarkP
May 14, 2010 8:10 PM CDT
Probably tough to go out and kill innocent people once you've been there long enough to know you're merely a de-facto mercenary for Halliburton, Exxon, TRW, GE and the rest of the corporate war profiteers. Here's a link to the 25 worst: http://bit.ly/b7YkYj They profit, we pay, the soldiers commit suicide and don't have to be cared for. It's a Trifecta!
Disillusioned
May 14, 2010 8:00 PM CDT
Take it from someone and there are many who have seen war up close and personal even though it was another war in another time and another part of the world. You awaken each day to fresh body parts strewn across the landscape, every pop you hear may be a sound that marks the death of another friend and it isn't so much the noises you hear that you worry over it is the one sound, the one pop you do not hear because you were the target. Life in a war zone is more than a pressure cooker and the ones that survive are the ones who have already made up their minds they will die there so they no longer worry about staying safe, they feel they are dead so have nothing left to loose. Add to this the pests they nights without sleep the feeling of being hopelessly lost and so many more things that can't be described and yes the mind snaps and in the end you are a walking time bomb awaiting a time you explode.............. A single death can take a toll and that multiplied a hundred times eats away at the human spirit until there finally is little left of what once was