Demographics of and diagnoses in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom personnel who were psychiatrically evacuated from the theater of operations

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Jul-Aug 2006;28(4):352-6. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2006.04.006.

Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to characterize the demographic and clinical information of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) military personnel who were psychiatrically evacuated from the theater of operations.

Method: Records of 1264 consecutive OEF/OIF patients who were medically evacuated for primarily psychiatric reasons between November 4, 2001, and July 30, 2004, were reviewed to collect demographic information and psychiatric diagnoses.

Results: When compared with all returned OEF/OIF veterans (N=213,150), psychiatric evacuees were more likely to be: female, under the age of 31 years, African-American or Hispanic, enlisted and National Guard/Reserve. Over 80% of patients were evacuated during the first 6 months, compared with 17% during the second 6 months of deployment. The most common diagnostic categories were adjustment disorders (37.6%), mood disorders (22.1%), personality disorders (15.7%) and anxiety disorders (15.4%); 16.5% received no psychiatric diagnosis. Only 5% of evacuees were returned to OEF/OIF duty.

Conclusion: Almost half of evacuated patients received no diagnosis or no adjustment disorder diagnosis, suggesting clinical improvement since a decision for evacuation was made. Potential areas of focus for preventing psychiatric evacuations are identifying service members who are at risk during early stages of deployment and studying whether there are gender-specific deployment stressors.

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Adjustment Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Adjustment Disorders / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Military Psychiatry / methods*
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / ethnology
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Warfare*