Soldiers and Veterans Should Have Annual PTSD Screenings, Report Says
(WASHINGTON) -- Servicemen and women returning from the war zones get screened for post-traumatic stress disorder, but a new report says too little happens after that.
An Institute of Medicine study says that of those who show symptoms, just 40 percent get referred for more treatment. The report also recommends that all service members and veterans should be screened at least once each year.
The review, mandated by Congress and funded by the Pentagon and the Veterans Administration, says many soldiers don't get PTSD treatment, worried it could jeopardize their careers.
"[There is] a certain amount of fearfulness around having psychological diagnosis, that it may affect a soldier's potential for promotion and a certain worry around the acceptability of the diagnosis," said report committee chair Dr. Sandro Galea at Columbia University.
The report also notes that there's no real systematic tracking of soldiers to pinpoint the most effective treatments. Galea says there's work to be done but he's optimistic.
"It will need a concerted system-wide effort on behalf of DOD [Department of Defense] and VA to raise awareness among all its ranks of the importance of PTSD, of the potential benefit of treatment and to implement specific programs," he says.
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