Dubious value of SGAs as add-ons for PTSD
soldier ptsd story.jpgThe recent spike in treating soldiers with PTSD relied mostly on off-label with second generation antipsychotics. A study in JAMA showed that when compared to a placebo, the drug being study, Risperidone, had little effect, raising the question of whether the substantial side effects justified any benefit. []
PTSD Coach -- an iTunes app helps vets
PTSDapp.jpgThe Veterans Administration (VA) has gone digital. A free app can be downloaded from iTunes to smart phones and walk someone through exercises to reduce stress, find help, and maintain a self-reported profile to assess PTSD. . . []
Veterans Day -- a reminder of mental health prioirities
salute-flag.jpgWith Veterans Day comes a salute to soldiers. And a reminder of the obligations to meet the inner wars many bring home. From a selection of articles addressing the mental health scars of battle, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and suicide. . . []
Sol Wachtler's essay, "When the Scars of Battle"
. . .a recurring theme []
Sol Wachtler's essay, "When the Scars of Battle"
. . .a recurring theme []
VA low balls mental health budget at $4.4 billion
On the heels of congressional hearings about military sexual trauma (MST), the Government Accounting Office (GAO) asked the Veterans Administration (VA) to fold funding for MST treatment into overall budget requests for mental health services. . . []
The VA served 1.2 mllion people in mental health settings in 2009.
Read the GAO report, "Reporting of Spending and Workload for Mental Health Services Could Be Improved," released May 2010.... []
Bill helping women vets, and caregiving families goes to Obama
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Helping caregiving families and women soldiers distinguishes a sweeping bill for vets (S1963) that passed the House, following thumbs up from the Senate. It will take effect six months after the president signs it into law which he is expected to do. Years of reports, including a story in today's New York Times discuss hurdles families face. . . []
Witnesses spar at hearings over anti-depressant -- suicide risks
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Calling PTSD and Traumatic brain injury "the signature wounds of the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Rep. Bob Filner who opened House committee hearings about military suicides. . . []
Chronic PTSD affects brain functions
Can time alone heal the impact of combat in Iraq? Not likely, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. . . . []
Off label antipsychotic drugs increased at VA
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A study appearing in Psychiatric Services describes a hike in prescribing antipsychotic medications over a ten-year period at the Veterans Administration. Sixty percent of antipsychotic drugs were prescribed off-label . . . []
The cost of second generation atypical drugs average $10 a day.
"Off Label Use of Antipsychotic medications in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System" appears in the September issue of Psychiatric Services. Abstract available. ... []
Obama outlines military health challenge
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In a conversation with military reporters and Gen. Eric Shinseki, transcripts reveal Pres. Barack Obama understands the mental health challenges facing the military . . . []
Medical care for military women
Improvements in mental health treatment for women veterans were part of a bill (HR 1211) the House passed by unanimous vote, 408 to zero. Among the provisions are special training for mental health professionals to treat women for sexual abuse and PTSD, and a study of the barriers, including stigma, to seeking treatment. Reports indicate sexual harassment of military women has increased and is often unreported.... []
Defining PTSD and combat burden
In uncommon combat where injuries do not always take place on a formal battlefield, criteria for assessing combat-related disability may be outdated. A bill to change the meaning of "combat with the enemy" (HR 952) was introduced by Rep. John J. Hall (D-NY) who opened congressional hearings by noting "an unnecessary burden on veterans diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD and other conditions - to prove their combat stressors." ... []
Vet groups say "no" to Obama plan
"Betrayal," "dead on arrival," and "unacceptable" are just a few of the objections to Pres. Barack Obama's proposal to shift financing of service injuries from the Veterans' Adminsitration (VA) to private insurers. This proposal, which senior members of congress have widely criticized, includes treatment for service related injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression. It also seems incongruent with the testimony of Sec. Erik K. Shinseki at hearings last week about extensive mental health needs and the... []
Lobby lawmakers, Patrick Kennedy tells advocates
. . . ask for mental health reform []
Mental health for women, student vets
Hearings to improve services for veterans with special attention to women and students were held with reference to three pending bills. One (HR 784) will list vacancies for mental health jobs in VA facilities. Another (HR 785) proposes "a pilot program to provide outreach and training to certain college and university mental health centers relating to the mental health of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and for other purposes. A third bill (HR 1211) "Women Veterans... []
Underreporting PTSD unfounded
A report from the Veteran's Administration Office of Inspector General concluded that therapists at a Texas facility did not stop diagnosing PTSD after an email from a staff psychologist suggesting cost and time saving modifications. The report was requested by a congressional committee after the psychologist's email was made public. Diagnosis has a direct impact on eligibility for benefits, and PTSD has a higher compensation than adjustment disorder. The investigation also confirmed that aftercare groups which had been meeting... []
PTSD doesn't earn Purple Heart, disability
The Pentagon has decided that PTSD is not worthy of a Purple Heart, saying it was not intentionally caused by an "outside force or agent." According to Stars and Stripes, which reported some of the story in May, a military spokesperson explained that the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders or psychological conditions resulting from witnessing or experiencing traumatic combat events (e.g., combat stress reaction, shell-shock, combat stress fatigue, acute stress disorder, or PTSD). The Purple... []
Book details military mental health crisis
Aaron Glantz, author of the The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle against America's Veterans, discussed the military mental health crisis, now a signature of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. During a radio conversation with Lenny Lopate, Glantz said failures to address PTSD, suicides, long waits, and a shortage of professional help all reside within a military system which has historically overlooked mental health concerns. This is his third book about Iraq, and it adds to growing alarm, also apparent... []
"Another Kind of VALOR"
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The failure to anticipate the mental health needs of vets has led to public outrage. Filmmaker Dan Weisburd released "Another Kind of Valor" a docudrama with a rich set of resources that communities can use to help veterans and families who struggle. []
Housing crisis for homeless, vets
iStock photo Cities are struggling to provide housing for their homeless men and women, and in Seattle a controversy over whether to rebuild or repair is delaying this longer. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that 200 people were shut out of boarding houses they had lived in for up to 30 years, waiting lists are 800 names deep, and 100 people are backed up in the hospital while waiting for a place in the community. In North Carolina, there is a... []
House passes veteran's mental health bill
A voice vote in the House approved a compromise for the "Veteran's Mental Health Bill" calling for improvements in treatment and research for PTSD, substance abuse disorders and for expanding the time when military families may seek mental health services. For updates on S. 2162, click here. ... []
Michelle D. Sherman writes:
Many Americans are joining in the important and much-deserved recognition and celebration of our troops upon homecoming from war. Most people know someone who has been deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism...a relative, friend, neighbor, or co-worker. We are bombarded by images and stories of the war in the media, and the internet and advances in communication allow for almost instant connection with people and events half way around the world. The Global War on Terrorism is... []

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