Veteran Stress Cases Surge

VA took on 20,000 new cases—up 70% —in one year
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2007 6:20 AM CDT
Retired Marine Maj. Gamal Awad poses at his home in Temecula, Calif., Sept. 5, 2007. Awad suffers from post traumatic stress disorder which followed his rescue work on Sept. 11, 2001, at the Pentagon....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Department of Veterans Affairs reported treating 20,000 new cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a 12-month period ending in June, up an astounding 70% from the same time the previous year, reports USA Today. The VA counts a total of nearly 50,000 PTSD cases, and expects the number to grow.

The Pentagon reports a total of only 30,000 wounded, which experts say is because soldiers often ignore, hide or don’t recognize mental health problems until after military service. Mental illness is the second most common problem among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, after orthopedic complaints, but is growing faster. The VA has increased the number of mental health care specialists from 4,000 to almost 11,000 since 2005.