Suicide amongst military personnel and veterans

PTSD is one of the primary reasons veterans may turn to drugs or alcohol — as a coping mechanism to deal with the traumatic memories, feelings of depression, and anxiety resulting from PTSD — particularly if the disorder is inadequately treated or, in the worst-case scenario, undiagnosed or untreated at all. Combined with depression, PTSD, or any other underlying mental health condition, addiction increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The complexity of these diseases and comorbidity co-occurring disorders, or two or more disorders present at the same time presents a serious risk for veterans.

Suicide amongst military personnel and veterans

Number of deaths of veterans and of non-veterans was less than expected from Australian population, when veterans were compared with non-veterans there was no statistically significant difference in deaths.

Excess deaths were observed among Army Vietnam veterans for motor vehicle Suicide amongst military personnel and veterans, non-motor vehicle accidents, and accidental poisonings.

Suicides were not elevated. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD were 3. In comparison with the US male general population, veterans hospitalized due to combat wound or wounded more than once had a significantly increased risk of suicide SMR 1.


There was a small but significant excess of deaths in the Gulf War veterans mainly caused by accidents. The crude RRs for suicides and homicides were somewhat elevated in the first 5 years 1. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD had an increased risk of death from multiple causes, especially from external, which included suicide, hazard ratio 2.

Over time veterans were twice as likely adjusted hazard ratio 2.

Suicide amongst military personnel and veterans

The overall risk for suicide was not significantly elevated SMR 1. From post-traumatic patients 6 Veterans with PTSD were more than 4 times as likely to endorse suicidal ideation. Risk for suicidal ideation was 5.

In age-adjusted analyses the risk of suicide did not differ by veteran status. Odds of completed suicide were significantly increased for patients with panic disorder OR 1.

Odds of completed suicide were decreased among patients with comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder OR 0. The male and female veteran suicide decedents were, respectively, 1.

Veterans with severe pain were more likely hazards ratio 1. Veterans with a history of TBI were 1. Mental health among war veterans is very similar across cultures, notwithstanding socioeconomic differences. Suicide rates are usually not calculated and compared to the general population; however, some research has been performed on Russian veterans i.

Deahl and co-authors [ 6 ] suggest that mental health problems of ex-military are diverse, polymorphic and have psychosocial consequences like social exclusion, homelessness, self-harm and substance abuse. In the longitudinal study of male veterans with a history of drug abuse, it was found that PTSD, drug-dependence, non-fatal attempted suicides and suicidal ideation had a strong continuity over time [ 41 ], with suicidal ideation some 4-times more frequent in PTSD-sufferers [ 42 ].

Veterans diagnosed with PTSD have an increased risk of death, not only from suicide, but from other causes as well [ 43 ].


Evidence shows that suicide rates are higher among older and younger depressed veterans with PTSD compared to middle-aged veterans [ 44 ]. Moreover, younger males were shown to have the highest suicide risk [ 23 ].

Among former military personnel, there are many publications that focus on the role of underlying disorders in the genesis of suicidality, especially PTSD. PTSD is a highly comorbid disorder with a growing prevalence among war veterans.

Suicide amongst military personnel and veterans

PTSD is commonly present in those veterans with a previous history of suicide attempts, psychopathology and severe substance abuse characteristics [ 4546 ]. Aggressive and self-aggressive behaviour in veterans occurs more often in PTSD cases [ 47 ]; veterans diagnosed with PTSD have 4-times as many firearms as non-veterans [ 48 ].

These data provide an explanation for many veteran suicides; however, suicide cannot be explicated as the result of one particular mental disorder. Moreover, as can be seen from Table 1 some studies do not confirm that those war veterans who suffer PTSD are more likely to commit suicide.

Notwithstanding, depression is considered the leading underlying disorder for suicide and recent studies suggest that PTSD has a pronounced effect on risk mostly if comorbid with depression.

This issue was addressed by L. Individuals with comorbid PTSD and MDD are characterized by a greater severity of symptoms, increased suicidality, and a higher level of impairment in social and occupational functioning [ 50 ]. Sher which consists of the following components: The first four components, according to the proposed model, determine the vulnerability to combat stress; whereas, the first seven components ascertain a predisposition to suicidal behavior, which is a key element that differentiates PTMD patients with high- and low-risks of suicide [ 4950 ].

Concerning the three key components of the suicidal process i.

The Truth About 22 Veteran Suicides A Day

Modern challenges of growing war conflicts, and its potential for comorbid psychopathologies [ 45652 ], should be taken into consideration as a warning for exacerbating suicides, suicide attempts and psychopathology among newly released military personnel. This has been underscored in recent studies.

Janet Wiener and colleagues have followed more than 10, veterans, who were hospitalized at the Veterans Affairs medical centre between and following a suicide attempt.

There was a high prevalence of diagnosed alcohol disorder or abuse Moreover, veterans who attempted suicide had a substantially higher mortality rate compared with the non-suicide, e. Thus, mental health problems appeared to be significantly correlated with general health and mortality.

The above mentioned study also reported on women suicides among veterans.United States military veteran suicide is an ongoing phenomenon regarding a reportedly high rate of suicide among U.S.

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military veterans, in comparison to the general public. Jul 19,  · Thus, former military that are discharged after being at war (referred to as war veterans) is an important topic, not only concerning suicide, but regarding psychological and emotional consequences of war as well.

Jan 14,  · The suicide rate among recent veterans was 50% higher than for nonmilitary civilians, a new detailed analysis has found. "People's natural instinct is to explain military suicide by the war-is. Suicide Risk and Risk of Death Among Recent Veterans.

Among deployed and non-deployed active duty Veterans who served during the Iraq or Afghanistan wars between and , the rate of suicide was greatest the first three years after leaving service, according to a recent study.

During peacetime, the military’s suicide rate is lower than the rest of the population, but due to increasing deployment rotations and grueling ground combat, it suggests that this exposes the veterans and service members to factors that would lead them to commit suicide (Bryan, Cukrowicz, West and Morrow, ). Apr 01,  · U.S. military suicides remain high for 7th year soldiers is most likely to commit suicide. The Department of Veterans Affairs has embraced the science and will soon launch a pilot program for. Military OneSource is an essential resource for military service members and veterans, offering information on the full spectrum of healthcare provided for veterans and active service members. The website includes a comprehensive section on suicide prevention, addictive behaviors, substance abuse, and more.

Craig Bryan, a psychologist and leader of the National Center for Veterans Studies, said the new information could now help advocates in the fight against military and veteran suicide. Military OneSource is an essential resource for military service members and veterans, offering information on the full spectrum of healthcare provided for veterans and active service members.

The website includes a comprehensive section on suicide prevention, addictive behaviors, substance abuse, and more.

The Truth About 22 Veteran Suicides A Day