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August 2, 2006

Mental Health After Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan—Reply

JAMA. 2006;296(5):514-516. doi:10.1001/jama.296.5.516-a

In Reply: We agree with Dr Larson and colleagues that there are reassuring aspects to our study, although for different reasons than they discuss. Service members who accessed mental health care did so within 2 months of returning from deployment, and most mental health care did not result in serious diagnoses. The distinction between symptoms of PTSD and the diagnosis of PTSD is often missed in media reports. The Department of Defense has been working to reduce stigma and encourage service members to seek care early before symptoms become severe or chronic. Our study suggested that many service members are receiving preventive mental health services shortly after returning from deployment.