Psychiatric Disorders Among U.S. Marines Wounded-in-Action in Vietnam
NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMMAND BETHESDA MD
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The object of this study is to explore the relationship between combat and psychiatric disorders by examining the medical case histories of U.S. Marines who were wounded-in-action in Vietnam to determine if and when they had also been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. Records of all hospital admissions for active-duty Marines for the period 1965-1972 were examined and personnel having a combat-related wound or injury andor a psychiatric hospitalization were identified. Rates of first hospitalization were calculated and standardized incidence ratios were used to obtain estimates of risk. Results indicated that Marines wounded in Vietnam were at significant risk for having a psychiatric hospitalization relative to Marines in Vietnam who were not wounded. Most of the psychiatric first hospitalizations occurred prior to being wounded- in-action, however, suggesting that psychiatric patients were at significant risk for being subsequently wounded relative to Marines with no record of psychiatric hospitalization. This risk differed with respect to psychiatric diagnosis, however. Individuals with diagnoses of schizophrenia, depressive neuroses, and anxiety neuroses were less likely to return to combat duty than those with other primary diagnoses. This is attributed to variations in the practice of returning psychiatric patients to duty upon completion of treatment. Keywords Post-traumatic stress disorders, Psychiatric casualties.
- Stress Physiology
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics