Mental Health Disorder Prevalence among Active Duty Service Members in the Military Health System, Fiscal Years 2005–2016

pdfDownload the Report

Description

This report describes trends in period prevalence of mental health disorders among active duty service members including active Guard and reserves within each fiscal year from 2005 to 2016. Prevalence rates for each disorder are aggregated and also stratified by military service. A patient may be diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders in a given year; therefore, patients may be counted in several prevalence rates but are counted only once per diagnostic group. The mental health disorders assessed in this report include: adjustment disorders, alcohol-related disorders, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, depressive disorders, insomnia, personality disorders, psychoses, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, substance-related disorders, substance abuse, and substance dependence. Case definitions developed by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch were used in these analyses.

Limitations

As with all administrative health care data, accuracy depends on provider coding practices. Consequently, provider coding that was inconsistent with established case definitions may result in exclusion of otherwise eligible cases from the calculation of prevalence rate estimates. Importantly, because our analysis only considers data from those seeking care for targeted mental health conditions, the reported estimates of prevalence underreport true prevalence in the population as a whole.

Findings

  • Among all service members, mental health disorder prevalence rose roughly 12 percent in 2005 to more than 23 percent in 2013 and then declined to approximately 20 percent in 2016. This increase occurred concurrently with a 14.1 percent decline in the total ASDM population between 2005 and 2016.
  • The Army had the greatest percentage of ADSMs diagnosed in each year of the measurement period, rising from approximately 14 percent in fiscal year 2005 to a high of approximately 30 percent in fiscal year 2013 and subsequently decreasing to approximately 26 percent in 2016

*Please refer to the report for findings specific to each mental health disorder.