PTSD in Veterans Statistics

How many veterans show signs of PTSD and what are the veteran suicide rates?

Veterans with PTSD are 60% more likely to be involved in criminal behavior.

(US Department of VA)

Those who have developed PTSD are more likely to have legal problems that can lead to arrests for violent offenses, compared to veterans without PTSD. One of the possible explanations may be the fact that people who have been traumatized have higher chances of engaging in criminal acts. 

Up to 20% of veterans who served in OIF and OEF suffer from PTSD, military PTSD stats indicate.

(US News)

The number of veterans with PTSD depends on which service areas they’ve been involved with. Some veterans have seen combat, some have been through horrible, life-threatening situations. As a result, Operation Iraqui Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OED) have left 11 to 20 out of 100 veterans with PTSD in the given year.

 Interesting facts about PTSD and post-9/11 veterans show that 83% reported suffering from PTSD.


What is more, a shocking 89% of post-9/11 veterans experienced more than three injuries or mental health issues. 

84% are having sleeping problems, 77% suffer from anxiety, and 72% reported having depression.

 Approximately 15% of the Vietnam War veterans were diagnosed with PTSD in the late 80s.

(Very well Mind)

As the PTSD Vietnam War statistics report, it’s estimated that 30% of men veterans and 27% of women veterans had PTSD during their lifetime. 2.7 million Americans served in the Vietnam War.

Today there are about 271,000 Vietnam veterans that are still having problems with MED and PTSD. 

12% of the Gulf War veterans have PTSD.

(US News)

The nature of combat has changed greatly since WWI and WWII, so the statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder increased in the meantime. One of the reasons for bigger rates could be the fact that soldiers are returning home faster than before. The longer trip home allowed for sharing experiences with fellow soldiers and longer processing and healing time.

PTSD military statistics show us that more than 50% of women experience military sexual trauma (MST).

(US Department of VA)

Any sexual harassment or assault can cause PTSD. It can happen to both men and women during combat, training, or even peacetime. However, only 23% of women report MST. In addition to this, over 38% of men have experienced MST.

Over 20% of veterans are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

(Addiction Center)

Military PTSD statistics report that drug and alcohol addictions are even harder to overcome if a person also suffers from PTSD. The withdrawal symptoms, combined with PTSD symptoms, intensify the negative feelings and emotions that often lead to relapse.

The average number of suicides among veterans is 17.6 per day. 

(US Department of VA) (Better Help) (Psychiatry Advisor)

This is the most recent data. PTSD can cause war flashbacks and acute stress disorder, among other things, which can further compel them to try to self-medicate, abuse drugs, or turn to excessive drinking instead of seeking professional medical help. 

As PTSD in veteran’s facts and stats show, they are 58% higher risk of committing suicide than veterans who were not diagnosed with PTSD.

VA provides close to 200 programs for treating PTSD.

(US Department of VA)

It’s never too late to seek treatment for PTSD. Therapy and counseling can help with managing the symptoms and prevent them from becoming worse. There are group therapies, psychotherapy, family therapy, various PTSD medication, and other forms of treatment and support.

How Common is PTSD in Veterans?

When you are in the military, you may see combat. You may have been on missions that exposed you to horrible and life-threatening experiences. These types of events can lead to PTSD.

The number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era:

  • Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
  • Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.
  • Vietnam War: About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans (or 15%) were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.

Other factors in a combat situation can add more stress to an already stressful situation. This may contribute to PTSD and other mental health problems. These factors include what you do in the war, the politics around the war, where the war is fought, and the type of enemy you face.

Another cause of PTSD in the military can be military sexual trauma (MST). This is any sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurs while you are in the military. MST can happen to both men and women and can occur during peacetime, training, or war.

Among Veterans who use VA health care, about:

  • 23 out of 100 women (or 23%) reported sexual assault when in the military.
  • 55 out of 100 women (or 55%) and 38 out of 100 men (or 38%) have experienced sexual harassment when in the military.

There are many more male Veterans than there are female Veterans. So, even though military sexual trauma is more common in women Veterans, over half of all Veterans with military sexual trauma are men.

Why Is it Important to Seek Care for PTSD?

There is no need to suffer with PTSD. There are good treatments that can help. You don’t need to let PTSD get in the way of your enjoyment of life, hurt your relationships, or cause problems at work or school. Learn from Veterans who talk about living with PTSD and how treatment turned their lives around: AboutFace.

“Getting better” means different things for different people, but people who get treatment improve their quality of life. In many cases, PTSD treatment can get rid of your symptoms. For some, symptoms may continue after treatment, but you will have learned skills to cope with them better.

Treatment can also help you:

  • Make sense of the trauma
  • Learn skills to better handle negative thoughts and feelings
  • Reconnect with people you care about
  • Set goals for activities, like work or school, that you can handle

PTSD Treatment Basics


PTSD can be treated. With treatment trauma survivors can feel safe in the world and live happy and productive lives. Effective treatments for PTSD include different types of psychotherapy (talk therapy) or medication.

Recommended Treatments: Treatments with the Most Research Support

Trauma-focused Psychotherapies

Trauma-focused Psychotherapies are the most highly recommended type of treatment for PTSD. “Trauma-focused” means that the treatment focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning. These treatments use different techniques to help you process your traumatic experience. Some involve visualizing, talking, or thinking about the traumatic memory. Others focus on changing unhelpful beliefs about the trauma. They usually last about 8-16 sessions.

  • have avoided since the trauma.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
    Teaches you to reframe negative thoughts about the trauma. It involves talking with your provider about your negative thoughts and doing short writing assignments.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
    Helps you process and make sense of your trauma. It involves calling the trauma to mind while paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone).