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PTSD Cases Rise for Female Soldiers

United Press International  |  January 02, 2008
WASHINGTON -- Thousands of U.S. military women are serving in what amounts to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and large numbers of them are coming home with stress disorders.

The Defense Department reports that 182,000 women have served in the region, USA Today said. While they are barred from certain military roles like ground infantry, they drive trucks in convoys and go on neighborhood patrols.

For Master Sgt. Cindy Rathbun, Camp Victory in Baghdad was her first experience of a combat zone after 25 years in the Air Force.

"There are no lines, so anybody that deploys is in a war zone," Rathbun says. "Females are combat veterans as well as guys."

Rathbun said her hair began falling out. When she flew back to the United States in February 2007, she asked a medic on her way out if that was normal and was told it is one way of reacting to stress.

Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Rathbun recently spent time at the Women's Trauma Recovery Program in Menlo Park, Calif. The residential center founded in 1992, is the oldest of 12 provided by the Defense Department for women.

Rathbun's class was the first to consist entirely of Iraq veterans.


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