Most Britons escape 'Iraq war syndrome'
British troops serving in Iraq suffer post-conflict mental health problems at a far lower rate than U.S. military personnel, researchers say.
At the same time, British reservists suffer post-war mental health woes at a higher rate than regular forces, say researchers at King's College London in two studies published in The Lancet.
In a major policy shift and after intense lobbying, Britain's Ministry of Defense announced Monday that reservists who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and returned to England since January 2003 would be provided government-paid mental health services, the Times of London and The Independent reported.
Some 6 percent of British reservists and 4 percent of all troops suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome vs. the estimated 20-30 percent of U.S. military forces, Kings College researchers said.
U.S. troops tend to be younger, more inexperienced, serve longer tours of duty in far more hostile areas than their British counterparts, researchers said.
"Is there an Iraq war syndrome" for British troops, asked researcher Simon Wessely. "The answer is no, at least not yet."
Copyright 2006 by United Press International