According to the American Hospital Association, one in four Americans experience a behavioral health illness or substance use disorder each year, and the majority of those individuals also suffer from a comorbid physical health condition. Further, approximately 60 percent of mental health care visits are with a primary care physician and almost half of patients do not follow through when referred to a mental health specialist. Fortunately there’s a Defense Department program integrated into primary care clinics to help active-duty and retired service members and their families address some of these concerns.
VA scientists are studying an experimental electrical stimulation technique, coupled with neuroimaging, to learn how mild traumatic brain injury interacts with PTSD in specific areas of the brain.
Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. For retired Commander Jack Schwartz, that seems to be the case.
Army Veteran Randy Dexter doesn’t need an academic study to tell him what he already knows — that his service dog, Captain, is the reason he’s no longer the “suicidal mess” he was after returning home from war with PTSD.
Vicarious Traumatization, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout: The Hazards of Compassion in Military Mental Health
Are you feeling disconnected from those you care about? Wondering who is trustworthy? Or just feeling unsafe? Any of these symptoms could be indicative of vicarious traumatization (VT), which may be easily confused with compassion fatigue or professional burnout. Some clinicians who work with traumatized populations (including those with posttraumatic stress disorder and/or depression) may experience VT, and this may be particularly true for clinicians working with military members. Despite significant experience providing clinical care, many clinicians could benefit from a refresher of information on this important topic and a few suggestions to help prevent it.
A research team at the Atlanta VA Medical Center aims to find out if yoga can help with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in women Veterans. Dr. Ursula Kelly has started a clinical trial to study the benefits of yoga for Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma and who also have PTSD.
Dr. Christine Timko is a research scientist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. She will study the effectiveness of a new treatment to help Veterans with alcohol use disorders who transition from the hospital to an outpatient setting. The intervention, called Drinking Options: Motivate, Shared Decisions, Telemonitor (DO-MoST), makes use of motivational interviewing and a decision aid to help Veterans with AUDs plan their care following discharge. Researchers say they will telephone Veterans after they leave the hospital to help them stay motivated and feel supported in their efforts to reduce or stop drinking.
Evidence is growing in the scientific community that people with PTSD are aging at an abnormal pace. The link between the two is a hot topic, as is the connection between other forms of psychological and environmental stress and accelerated aging.
A drug called prazosin, used widely in VA to help ease nightmares from posttraumatic stress disorder, did no better than placebo pills in a large multisite clinical trial sponsored by VA’s Cooperative Studies Program (CSP). The trial involved more than 300 combat Veterans.