JAMA Logo U.S. soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more likely to experience long-term psychological effects. A latest study suggests that combat-related PTSD symptoms are linked with longer-term physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms. While physical includes headache, tinnitus and emotional comprises irritability, cognitive seemingly engulfs diminished concentration as well as memory. It was mentioned that conversely, concussion/mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) are probably not associated with long-term negative effects on troops.

The study was triggered on 953 combat-deployed U.S. National Guard Soldiers put to patrol in Iraq. Around 92.5 percent were male, 87.1 percent white, 46.4 percent younger than 30 and 86.5 percent had been enlisted rank. Authors surveyed the participants from Iraq one month before returning home, and again a year later. During the first survey, 7.6 percent soldiers were registered with PTSD. This rate apparently rose to 18.2 percent by the second survey. Alterations in PTSD symptoms between the two surveys did not appear different for those who reported concussion in the first survey.

Investigators, comment, “Although combat-related PTSD was strongly associated with post-concussive symptoms and psychosocial outcomes one year after soldiers return from Iraq, there was little evidence of a long-term negative impact of concussion/mild traumatic brain injury history on these outcomes after accounting for PTSD. These findings and the two-fold increase in reports of deployment-related concussion/MTBI history have important implications for screening and treatment.”

PTSD possibly anticipated post-deployment symptoms such as memory and balance problems, difficulty in concentration as well as irritability. The rate of reported concussion seemingly elevated from 9.2 percent in the first survey to 22 percent at the second survey. Among those with concussion during the first survey, 30.2 percent supposedly developed PTSD by the time of the second survey. Melissa A. Polusny, Ph.D., of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System and the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, and colleagues observed 30.4 percent PTSD cases from the 22 percent with concussion. Soldiers with a history of concussion were possibly more capable of experiencing post-concussive symptoms after deployment.

The study is published in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.