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U.S. civilian, military populations combine for more than $230 billion in annual costs.
A new study finds that the national economic burden of PTSD goes beyond direct health care expenses and exceeds the costs of other common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
The researchers estimated the cost of PTSD at $232.2 billion for 2018, the latest year for which data were available at the time of the study. They called for increased awareness of PTSD, more effective therapies, and the expansion of evidence-based strategies to “reduce the large clinical and economic burden” of that mental health condition.
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The results appeared online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry on April 25, 2022.
“The $232 billion annual economic burden of PTSD in the U.S. demonstrated in this study is staggering and fuels the urgency for public and private stakeholders to work together to discover new and better treatments, reduce stigma, improve access to existing treatments, and expand evidence-based recovery and rehabilitation programs,” the researchers write.
In the study, the investigators brought to light the extent to which PTSD not only impacts Veterans, but civilians, as well. The research team found that civilians accounted for 82% of the total PTSD costs, compared with 18% for the military population. That disparity is predicated on the fact that the number of civilians far exceeds that of active-duty military and Veterans. Although PTSD is more prevalent in the military, the number of civilians with PTSD still tops the number of Veterans with that condition.
Davis and her colleagues noted that more studies on PTSD and its treatments are needed to address the rise in civilians with PTSD, calling that phenomenon a “rapidly accumulating societal burden.” Improved access to effective treatments is also needed, especially for people in economically vulnerable situations,” she noted.