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Medical News & Perspectives |

IOM: Military Psychological Interventions Lack Evidence

Anita Slomski
JAMA. 2014;311(15):1487-1488. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3537.
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The casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars weren’t limited to soldiers returning home with broken bodies—or in body bags. The invisible wounds from psychological disorders among active-duty military personnel are even more pervasive, increasing 62% from 2000 to 2011, according to a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Preventing Psychological Disorders in Service Members and Their Families: An Assessment of Programs.

During 11 years of war, there were 936 283 diagnoses of psychological disorders among current or former service members, with adjustment disorders the most prevalent (26%), followed by depression (17%), substance abuse and dependence (17%), anxiety (10%), and posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSDs, 6%). Suicide rates in the Army also began to substantially increase at the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including among soldiers never deployed.

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Many resilience and prevention programs intended to maintain soldiers’ mental health lack scientific evidence to prove they are effective, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

PFC Paige Pendleton/US Army

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