The number of US soldiers in the American-occupied countries of Iraq and Afghanistan who have shown psychological and moral disorder topped some 830,000. Over the past decade, post-traumatic stress disorder has assumed alarming proportions among troops who have participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A study conducted by the RAND Institute reported that among more than one million 640,000 soldiers who have been involved in the so-called war against terror as of 2001, some 300,000 are suffering frequent shocks and depression, while 320,000 others have varying degrees of brain injuries. In fact, one in five servicemen return home from those wars with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The year 2009 saw the number of troops hospitalized for PTSD and other mental health problems exceed the number hospitalized for any other cause, including combat-related injuries.
Despite the growing evidence of a mental health epidemic among American troops, efforts to prevent and alleviate PTSD have met little success. The increased rate of post-traumatic stress disorder is linked to several factors, unique to the current American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The most alarming factor when compared with the previous wars and the length and frequency of deployments in combat areas, shows that conditions are much more unbearable for US occupation troops, who are intensely hated in the occupied countries, and because of their brutalities against unarmed civilians, find it very difficult to adapt to society after they return home. Some 10 percent of those veterans are now suffering psychological problems at home. The Rand announced that more than two thirds of US troops who had been in Iraq and Afghanistan are under medical treatment. Due to the high rates of post-traumatic stress, disorder and other mental illnesses among active military troops and veterans, suicide rates have been skyrocketing. Since 2005, the suicide rate among American soldiers has doubled, with suicides occurring at the highest rate in the past thirty years. PTSD in soldiers has also had disastrous consequences for the military families since veterans with PTSD are more likely to commit acts of domestic violence. Although according to the USA Today, the Pentagon has allocated some 300 million dollars for due studies regarding treatment of those effected with PTSD symptoms – more than the budget needed for 171 researches in terms of stress and other mental disorders – it seems that the post-traumatic stress disorder epidemic is not being taken seriously enough by the US military or policy-makers. Apparently, many more American soldiers are likely to develop this often-debilitating psychological illness because of unnecessary presence in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone squandering of billions of dollars to appease the warmongers in the White House or the Pentagon.