The U.S. military has explored multiple avenues to improve the effectiveness of treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). But in spite of their attempts, service members seem to feel that they aren’t getting the desired results.
At the request of the American Legion, a survey conducted by Data Recognition Corp. found that almost half of service members being treated for PTSD or TBI answered that the treatments have little or no effect on their ailments. The Legion polled approximately 3,100 Veterans, and found that less than 500 Veterans, or approximately 16%, claimed that their PTSD or TBI treatments were beneficial. About the same percentage answered that treatments made their conditions worse.
The Legion’s survey also revealed that many Veterans have walked away from VA treatment, mainly due to dissatisfaction with the progress of their treatments. Most of these Veterans felt that they could do a better job of treating themselves. Another reason that Veterans left PTSD treatment was the stigma of being treated for a mental illness.
Veterans also listed reliance on medications as a reason for dissatisfaction with DOD and VA treatments. While more than 50% of the Veterans surveyed claimed that they take five or more medications daily, a surprising 30% claimed that they were prescribed ten or more medications per day.
The results of the Legion’s survey coincide with findings that were released in a recent report by the Institute of Medicine. The IOM report, released on June 20, 2014, claims that a lack of standards, reporting, and evaluation within the DOD and the VA have significantly compromised their efforts to effectively treat PTSD. The report goes on to offer recommendations that would result in the two departments being able to more effectively treat PTSD among U.S. service members and Veterans.
Officials from the DOD have said that the military has already begun conducting research to try to improve treatment for PTSD and TBI.
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Military Connection: PTSD Care Not Working? By Debbie Gregory