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PTSD Treatment Still Lacking for Veterans

Young, male and rural most likely to face obstacles, research shows

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. veterans continue to meet barriers as they seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers say.

Between 2002 and 2008, nearly 50,000 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars received diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder. But fewer than 10 percent of those completed the recommended treatment of 10 to 12 weekly sessions within four months; the number only grew to fewer than 30 percent over a year, the study authors found.

Some types of veterans are less likely to receive recommended care: males, veterans who are under the age of 25, those who live in rural areas and those who got their diagnoses at primary-care clinics and needed referrals to mental health programs, according to the report published online Feb. 9 in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Dr. Karen Seal, the study's head researcher and a practitioner at the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Medical Center, said in a news release that most veterans did attend at least one mental-health appointment. But problems -- including those at the system and personal levels -- led to lack of follow-up.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has details on post-traumatic stress disorder.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Wiley-Blackwell, news release, Feb. 10, 2010

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