Post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness among Gulf War veterans: A population-based survey of 30,000 veterans

Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, USA.
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 01/2003; 157(2):141-8.
Source: PubMed


The authors estimated the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and illness resembling chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in the entire population of Gulf War and non-Gulf-War veterans. They also evaluated the relation between the extent of deployment-related stress and the risk of either PTSD or CFS. In 1995-1997, the authors conducted a health survey in which these two symptom-based medical diagnoses in a population-based sample of 15,000 Gulf War veterans representing four military branches and three unit components (active, reserve, and National Guard) were compared with those of 15,000 non-Gulf veteran controls. Gulf War veterans, compared with non-Gulf veteran controls, reported significantly higher rates of PTSD (adjusted odds ratio = 3.1, 95% confidence interval: 2.7, 3.4) and CFS (adjusted odds ratio = 4.8, 95% confidence interval: 3.9, 5.9). The prevalence of PTSD increased monotonically across six levels of deployment-related stress intensity (test for trend: p < 0.01), while the prevalence of CFS rose only at the low end of the stress spectrum. While deployment-related stress could account for the higher risks of both PTSD and CFS, additional factor(s) unique to the Gulf environment may have contributed to the risk of CFS among Gulf War veterans.

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