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Psychosomatics. 2010 Nov-Dec;51(6):503-7. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.51.6.503.

Co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and alcohol-related disorders among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  • 1Dartmouth Medical School, 2 Whipple Place Suite 202, Lebanon, NH 03766, USA.



Soldiers often return from war with a variety of combat-related mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance-use disorders.


The authors investigated common co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions and patterns of conditions among returning Iraq/Afghanistan veterans using the Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare systems.


Common clusters of ICD-9 diagnostic-related conditions among returning soldiers (N=293,861) were extracted from the VA data center.


Diagnoses involving pain are extremely common among returning veterans seeking health care at the VA. In addition to pain-related conditions, psychiatric disorders rank second most prevalent. Psychiatric disorders, and in particular the multimorbid triad of pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression frequently overlap.


As more veterans return from war, there will be greater need for effective services. Given the findings of high rates of comorbidity and multimorbidity, VA services should be reorganized so as to co-locate psychiatric staff in pain centers, simultaneously targeting pain and psychiatric disorders.

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