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Military Veterans See Sleep Disorders Rate Rise Significantly in Last Decade

July 18th, 2016

A recent study on sleep disorders, military veterans, and PTSD shows that these disorders have increased considerably in the last decade. The study involved over 9.7 million United States military veterans and the results showed that in 2010 vets had a risk of developing sleep disorders which was more than 6 times what the rate was in 2000. Because patients with PTSD, or those who had combat experience or another mental disorder, had the greatest rate increase the connection between these conditions is hard to ignore. During the study period the PTSD prevalence among vets also tripled. Study participants with chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and others also had higher rates of sleep disorders as well.

University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics associate professor, senior study author, and principal investigator James Burch, Ph.D., discussed the study on sleep disorders, military veterans, and PTSD. Burch explained that “Veterans with PTSD had a very high sleep disorder prevalence of 16 percent, the highest among the various health conditions or other population characteristics that we examined. Because of the way this study was designed, this does not prove that PTSD caused the increase in sleep disorder diagnoses. However, we recently completed a follow-up study, soon to be submitted for publication, that examined this issue in detail. In that study, a pre-existing history of PTSD was associated with an increased odds of sleep disorder onset.” The study results must be viewed with the fact that 93% of the study participants were men while only 7% were women.

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