Treatment seeking for posttraumatic stress in Israel defense forces veterans deployed in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war: A 7-year post-war follow-up

Ofir Levi*, Eyal Fruchter, Mark Weiser, Daniel S. Pine, Yitshak Kreiss, Yair Bar-Haim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: To determine the long-term prevalence of combat-related treatment seeking for PTSD in Israel Defense Force (IDF) veterans deployed to war. Methods: A seven-year surveillance records-based study determined the prevalence of treatment seeking and DSM-IV-TR diagnosis among treatment seeking IDF veterans in relation to the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War. The whereabouts and combat exposure of veterans during the war was determined based on the IDF’s Operations Directorate records. Results: Overall prevalence of psychological/psychiatric treatment seeking was 1.32%, and was significantly higher in soldiers deployed to high combat-exposure zones (2.19%), relative to low combat-exposure zones (0.24%), OR=9.20, CI=6.68-12.66, p<0.001. Treatment seeking did not differ between soldiers deployed in low combat-exposure zones and soldiers deployed elsewhere than the war area (0.26%), OR=0.90, CI=0.65-1.24, p=0.45: 42% of care-seeking contacts occurred within the 3.5 months of the war’s end. An additional 27.9% of all contacts occurred during the ensuing year, and decreased drastically in subsequent years. PTSD was more prevalent among treatment-seeking veterans deployed in high combat-exposure zones relative to veterans who were deployed in low exposure zones or elsewhere. Conclusions: Based on previous reports on post-combat PTSD prevalence using stratified samples, there appears to be a service-gap of anywhere between 3-11% between treatment seeking by IDF veterans following war deployment and the actual prevalence of PTSD and related symptoms in this soldier population. As in prior research, treatment seeking and PTSD strongly related to level of combat exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Volume55
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018

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