Mortality rates between treated post-traumatic stress disorder Israeli male veterans compared to non-diagnosed veterans

Joseph Zohar, Leah Fostick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The literature suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with increased mortality. However, to date, mortality rates amongst veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder have not been reported for Israeli veterans, who bear a different profile than veterans from other countries. This study aims to evaluate age-adjusted mortality rates amongst Israeli Defense Forces veterans with and without PTSD diagnosis. The study was carried out in a paired sample design with 2457 male veterans with treated PTSD and 2457 matched male veterans without a PTSD diagnosis. Data on PTSD and non-PTSD veterans was collected from the Rehabilitation Division of the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) special unit for treatment of combat stress reaction. Mortality data were collected from the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) computerized database. Comparison of mortality rates between PTSD and non-PTSD veterans was done using paired observations survival analysis by applying a proportional hazards regression model. Overall no statistically significant difference in mortality rates was found between veterans with treated PTSD and veterans without PTSD. These findings hold even when excluding veterans who died in battle and including non-PTSD veterans who died before their matched PTSD veteran was diagnosed. However, among pairs with similar military jobs PTSD group had significantly less mortality. The results of this large national cohort suggest that treated PTSD is not associated with increased mortality. We submit that the lack of this association represents the "net" pathophysiology of PTSD due to the unique characteristics of the sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Mortality
  • PTSD
  • Veterans

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