Differentiating high-risk demographic and gender groups can lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of mental health diagnoses among veterans and other high-risk groups, according to a recent study. Researchers used US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) sociodemographic electronic health records from 2001 to 2014 to examine incidence rates and risk factors for mental health diagnoses among 888,142 veterans. They found:
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most frequently diagnosed mental health condition across gender and age groups.
- Incidence rates for all mental health diagnoses were highest at ages 18 to 29 years and declined thereafter, with the exceptions of major depressive disorder (MDD) in both genders, and PTSD among women.
- Risk of incident bipolar disorder and MDD diagnoses were greater among women; risk of incident schizophrenia and alcohol- and drug-use disorders diagnoses were greater in men.
- Compared with whites, risk incident PTSD, MDD, and alcohol-use disorder diagnoses were lower at ages 18 to 29 years and higher at ages 45 to 64 years for both Hispanics and African Americans.
Ramsey CM, Dziura J, Justice AC, et al. Incidence of Mental Health Diagnoses in Veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn, 2001-2014. [Published online ahead of print December 20, 2016]. Am J Public Health. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2016.303574.