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Drone Pilots and PTSD

February 28, 2013

Just saw this article and was struck with the idea that no one escapes.  I was actually surprised to hear this.  I had thought that people away from the on- site fighting and violence would be immune to PTSD but after reading the article, I understand how immersed these drone pilots are and how they are only human.

The new study looked at the electronic health records of 709 drone pilots and 5,256 manned aircraft pilots between October 2003 and December 2011. Those records included information about clinical diagnoses by medical professionals and not just self-reported symptoms.

After analyzing diagnosis and treatment records, the researchers initially found that the drone pilots had higher incidence rates for 12 conditions, including anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and suicidal ideation.

After the data were adjusted for age, number of deployments, time in service and history of previous mental health problems, the rates for both groups were actually very similar, said Dr. Otto, who was scheduled to present her findings in Arizona on Saturday at a conference of the American College of Preventive Medicine.

I guess no matter what they do to sanitize their jobs of death and violence, they can not take away the mental health issues that the combatants face. Drone pilots are very much aware that this is not a video game and there are consequences to their action. For every action there is a reaction.