Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders in Elderly U.S. Military Veterans: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review
Williamson V., Stevelink SAM., Greenberg K., Greenberg N.
© 2017 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Objective: Older veterans may be vulnerable to mental health problems. Meta-analytic and systematic review methods sought to determine the prevalence rate of mental health disorders in older military veterans (≥65 years). Methods: Eleven studies were eligible, and meta-analyses of veteran depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, dementia, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia were conducted. Results: Although conducted exclusively with U.S. veterans, high prevalence rates of substance (5.7%) and alcohol use disorders (5.4%) in older veterans were found. However, the prevalence of other mental health disorders, including PTSD and depression, in older veterans was not markedly high. Conclusion: The rates of disorder prevalence observed indicates a need for continued awareness of mental health difficulties, particularly substance and alcohol use disorders, in older veterans. In the future studies with non-U.S. military samples using a longitudinal design are required to further understand the prevalence of mental health disorders in geriatric veterans.