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IOM: Effectiveness of PTSD treatments provided by DOD & VA unknown
Date:6/20/2014

ourage staff to follow the guidance, or use the data available from its specialized PTSD programs to improve the way they manage the disorder.

DOD and VA leaders, who are responsible for delivering high-quality care for their populations, should communicate a clear mandate through their chain of command that PTSD management, using best practices, has high priority, the report says. Leadership accountability can also help ensure that information on PTSD programs and services is collected and that their success is measured and reported.

The report also recommends that DOD and VA have an adequate workforce of mental health care providers to meet the growing demand for PTSD services. While the departments have substantially increased their mental health staffing, the increases do not appear to have kept pace with the demand for PTSD services. Staffing shortages can result in clinicians not having time to provide evidence-based psychotherapies readily. In 2013, only 53 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who had a primary diagnosis of PTSD and sought care in the VA had received the recommended eight sessions within 14 weeks.

The report contains additional noteworthy findings, including:

  • PTSD has also increased among veterans of other eras of conflict. In 2013, 62,536 new cases of PTSD in the VA were diagnosed in veterans who did not serve in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and 34 percent of new admissions to VA specialized PTSD programs in 2012 were Vietnam-era veterans.
  • Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars use the VA at rates double those of other veterans -- 54 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans use the VA versus 27 percent of all veterans.
  • PTSD is the third most common major service-connected disability after hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • In 2012, 13.5 percent of soldiers in the U.S. Army had a diagnosis of PTSD, as did 10 percent of Marines, 4.5 percent of Navy personnel, a
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Contact: Jennifer Walsh
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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