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"They have intrusive recollections: 'I keep remembering it, I have nightmares about it, I can't escape it,'" Schlenger said. Vets try to escape the memories through alcohol or drugs, he said.
The military has leaned heavily on the National Guard and reserves in the current conflict. At certain times in 2005, the guard and reserves made up nearly half the troops fighting in Iraq.
For citizen soldiers, returning from war differs from the return for active-duty soldiers.
"It's not like you live at Fort Hood or Camp Lejeune and everybody on your street is in the military," said Bob Handy, a Vietnam veteran who heads Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Veterans United for Truth, a group that is suing the VA to make changes in mental health care.
The Millennium study will continue to track veterans' health and may determine whether drinking problems among returning combat troops are long-lasting, Boyko said.
On the Net:
Millennium Cohort Study: http://www.millenniumcohort.org/
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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