A hospital corpsman prepares an injection site during an immunization shot aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). (MCS2 Justin Wolpert / Navy)
The brutal legacy of more than a decade of war on the U.S. military is made plain in a study released Thursday. It shows that, on average, each service member visited a doctor more than once a month last year — the highest-ever rate for out-patient treatment.
The pace of more than 14 out-patient visits per service member in 2013 was a rate nearly 60 percent higher than in 2004, and up slightly from 2012. A little less than half the visits were for routine health care or chronic issues requiring counseling or physical rehabilitation.
The analysis was released in the April edition of the Pentagon’s Medical Surveillance Monthly Report.
Among the problems treated the most in the more-than 20 million out-patient visits by troops last year were primarily joint and back problems, and mental disorders, the report says. Rates of treatment for both categories have increased by about a third since 2009.
Women in the service visited doctors more frequently than men, even discounting issues related to pregnancy, the statistics show.
Alcoholism, anxiety and adjustment issues were among the most common behavioral health problems for which men were being treated. Anxiety, adjustment disorders and depression were most common for women, the report says.
For the majority of out-patient treatments, the troops were not required to curtail their military duties.