Posted : Friday Jul 27, 2012 9:41:48 EDT
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are no more likely to commit suicide than other veterans — unless they have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Then, their risk is four times higher than veterans who have not received any mental health diagnosis, according to a study published in the June Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
While psychiatric disorders are a known risk factor for suicide in the general population as well as in veterans, researchers sought to determine whether those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were especially vulnerable.
They cross-referenced the Veterans Health Administration's National Patient Care Database with the Centers for Disease Control's National Death Index for answers. In fiscal 2007 and 2008, there were 1,920 veteran suicides, 96 of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Analysis showed that having a mental health condition correlated with increased risk: a mental health diagnosis increased the suicide risk in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans four-fold, while other veterans with a mental health condition were 2½ times more likely to commit suicide.