mainstream facts


Research Highlights, Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research. “Invisible Wounds”: Mental Health and Cognitive Care Needs of America’s Retuning Veterans. Click here to download PDF of Research Highlights.


“Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through trauma.  A trauma is a shocking and scary event that you see or that happens to you.  During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger.  You may feel afraid or think that you have no control over what is happening.”


“Going through trauma is not rare.  About 6 out of every 10 (60%) of men and 5 of every 10 (or 50%) of women experience at least one trauma in their lives… Going through trauma does not mean you’ll get PTSD, though.  Even though over half of us go through some type of trauma, a much smaller percent develop PTSD.”

  1. “About 7 or 8 of every 100 perople (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.”
  2. “About 5.2 million adults have PTSD during a given year.  This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.”
  3. “Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD.  About 10% of women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with 5% of men.”

“Experts think PTSD occurs:

  1. In about 11-20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom), or in the range of 11-20 Veterans out of 100 who served in OEF/OIF.
  2. As many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans, or in 10 Gulf War Veterans out of 100.
  3. In about 30% of Vietnam Veterans, or about 30 out of 100 Vietnam Veterans.”

“Other factors in combat situation can add more stress to an already stressful situation.  This may contribute to PTSD and other mental health problems. These factors include what you do in the war, the politics around the war, where the war is fought, and the type of enemy you face.”