25 Feb '13, 4pm

Distance from Carnage Doesn’t Prevent PTSD for Drone Pilots

As debate raged over whether drone operators deserve a new medal , researchers with the Defense Department have found that pilots of drone aircraft experience mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft. The Times’s Jim Dao reported that although the study did not try to explain the sources of mental health problems, Air Force officials and independent experts suggested several potential causes. “Remotely piloted aircraft pilots may stare at the same piece of ground for days,” said Jean Lin Otto, an epidemiologist who was a co-author of the study. “They witness the carnage. Manned aircraft pilots don’t do that. They get out of there as soon as possible.” Additionally, working in isolation or under inflexible shift hours, juggling the simultaneous demands of home life with combat operations...

Full article: http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/distance-from-c...

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