The social impact related to the symptoms of PTSD can be devastating. Social anxiety, depression and avoidance can make it difficult to seek or hold a job. Unemployment can lead to deeper depression and lack of motivation thus creating troubles in a relationship. An increase in divorce, domestic abuse, alcohol or substance abuse is directly correlated to posttraumatic stress. Ultimately, PTSD can lead to homelessness or even suicide.
Suicide carries a tremendous emotional and financial toll on family. It also creates a burden on a community. Research data indicates that it can cost up to $1.3 million per suicide with 93% of that cost created by medical expenses and 3% in lost economic output.
According to studies performed by the Veterans Administration, approximately 20% of veterans suffer from PTSD while 15% of those are unemployed. A local study of St Clair County alone estimates that there are 13,624 unemployed veterans. With a median income of $52,728 in St Clair County, that is $718,366,272 in lost economy.
Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) indicates that the cost of homelessness is roughly $23,000 per person in the form of the public shouldering medical costs, police intervention, jail time, shelters and food pantries.
The stress and strain of military deployment and the transition back to civilian life can frequently lead to substance abuse as veterans attempt to deal with the mental anguish in their own way. Alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse and illicit drug abuse are all on the rise among veterans. One VA study indicated that 39% of veterans screen positive for alcohol abuse and 3% for drug abuse.
A NY Times study showed that combat veterans are responsible for almost 21% of domestic violence calls nationwide and 20% of suicide calls. In another study, over 30% of a group of veterans diagnosed with PTSD self-reported committing at least one act of aggression in the previous year– mostly minor– but almost 11% self-reported at least one seriously violent act.
A veteran receiving the standard 50% disability rating receives little more than $1,000 per month. The National threshold for poverty in the United States for a single individual with no children is $12,331.
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