Why War Helps, Rather than Harms, Some With PTSD

TIME:

War is often the trigger for mental illness, but the latest research reveals some unexpected effects of combat on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Feeling at home at war may seem like an oxymoron, but it has been reported for as long as wars have been. Now, research involving veterans of the war in Afghanistan suggests for the first time that some soldiers suffering from symptoms of PTSD before deployment improve during or after their combat duty.  And another new study suggests that the size of a particular brain region— the amygdala— may predict which soldiers are at highest risk for the disorder.

Danish researchers studied 366 soldiers from Denmark before, during and after their tours of duty in Afghanistan for a paper published in Psychological Science.  The vast majority of the veterans — 84% — showed few signs of PTSD at any time during the study.

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