The results, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry today, estimate the overall rate of probable PTSD among current and ex-serving military personnel to be 6% in 2014/16, compared to 4% in 2004/6. The study also found the rate of alcohol misuse has fallen from 15% in 2004/6 to 10% in 2014/16.
Large scale studies rule out individual clinical assessments for PTSD, therefore participants were considered to have probable PTSD if they scored 50 or more on the PTSD checklist questionnaire, in line with international research standards.
Higher rates of probable PTSD are primarily seen among ex-serving personnel who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those who deployed to the conflicts, the rate of probable PTSD for veterans was 9% compared to 5% for veterans who did not deploy. The rate of probable PTSD among currently serving personnel was also 5%, which is close to the rate of PTSD in the general population.
Lead author Dr Sharon Stevelink, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), said: