Category: Psychiatry

Military Brings Treatment Closer to Troops to Combat Growing Depression Issues

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Recent military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have put the spotlight not only on PTSD and TBI, but also on depression, which often co-exists with both conditions. “The previously rising suicide rate [in the Army]… Read More

Complexity, Lack of Approved Therapies Challenges PTSD, TBI Treatment

Complexity, Lack of Approved Therapies Challenges PTSD, TBI Treatment

WASHINGTON – When the American Psychiatric Association first added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980, it was quite controversial.

Better Recruit Screening Probably Won’t Solve Military Suicide Crisis

Better Recruit Screening Probably Won’t Solve Military Suicide Crisis

SALT LAKE CITY – The roots of the rising suicide rates in servicemembers and veterans reach back into childhood home environments and pre-military experiences, according to a quartet of recent reports.

Who Has PTSD Now? New Definition Creates Challenges for Clinicians

Who Has PTSD Now? New Definition Creates Challenges for Clinicians

By Brenda L. Mooney SILVER SPRING, MD – A new study raises critical questions about the change in the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and… Read More

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – One of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), affected 13.5% of soldiers and caused 502,000 veterans to seek treatment in 2012. Despite the ubiquity of the… Read More

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – One of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), affected 13.5% of soldiers and caused 502,000 veterans to seek treatment in 2012. Despite the ubiquity of the… Read More

VA Treats Schizophrenia More Consistently Than Other Healthcare Systems

VA Treats Schizophrenia More Consistently Than Other Healthcare Systems

By Annette M. Boyle TEMPLE, TX – While taking antipsychotic medication often benefits patients, evidence increasingly challenges the assumption that more is better, even as the rate of prescriptions for multiple antipsychotics continues to rise in the VA and other… Read More

Major Depressive Disorder Has Affected Nearly Half of Female OIF/OEF Veterans

Major Depressive Disorder Has Affected Nearly Half of Female OIF/OEF Veterans

DURHAM, NC – In the general population and among veterans, women suffer from depression at a substantially higher rate than men, and the mood disorder often occurs concurrently with other mental health conditions.

 Pre-Enlistment Mental Disorders Big Contributors to Army Suicide Risks

Pre-Enlistment Mental Disorders Big Contributors to Army Suicide Risks

CAMBRIDGE, MA — About half of all soldiers reporting that they had tried to kill themselves said that their initial suicide attempt occurred before enlistment, according to a new study.

Unspecified Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis Significantly Decreases Treatment for Veterans

Unspecified Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis Significantly Decreases Treatment for Veterans

HOUSTON — About 40% of veterans with anxiety disorders receive a “placeholder” diagnosis that often remains with them indefinitely — and dramatically reduces the likelihood they ever will receive appropriate care, according to a new study.

Effective Treatments Touted for Insomnia That Affects Half of All Returning Troops

Effective Treatments Touted for Insomnia That Affects Half of All Returning Troops

PITTSBURGH, PA — Insomnia and other sleep disorders, which affect one out of every two servicemembers or veterans who have been involved in recent military operations, complicate co-morbid conditions and can be difficult to manage.

Atlanta VAMC Resolving Issues that Led to Deaths of Mental Health Patients

By Annette M. Boyle ATLANTA — The management breakdowns blamed by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the deaths of three mental health patients at the Atlanta VAMC are being resolved, agency leadership testified at a Senate… Read More

Increasing Military Suicide Rates Unrelated to Deployment, Combat

By Brenda L. Mooney Cynthia A. Leardman, MPH SAN DIEGO, CA – Despite common misconceptions, increasing suicides by military servicemembers do not appear to be related to combat experience or deployment – or even multiple deployments, according to a new… Read More

Quick Stress Reduction Technique Improves Sleep for Heart Patients

BETHESDA, MD — An easy 10-minute stress reduction technique can substantially improve sleep quality, according to researchers from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The 10-minute Tension Tamer was tested on 334 patients in a heart health program. Subjects attended… Read More

Front-Line Clinicians Get Practical Advice To Help Combat Military Suicides

By Brenda L. Mooney ROCHESTER, MN — With sweeping new initiatives from the White House and elsewhere in response to the burgeoning military suicide rate, little guidance has been offered to the clinicians in the trenches who are best positioned… Read More

Potential Overuse of Antipsychotic Drugs for PTSD Patients is Under Review

By Annette M. Boyle FORT DETRICK, MD — In the wake of a memo from Assistant Secretary of Defense Jonathan Woodson, MD, expressing concern about potential over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, the Army and VA… Read More

What Is the Role of Immune Dysfunction in Schizophrenia? VA Researchers Seek to Find Out

By Annette M. Boyle SAN ANTONIO — Can cytokines, the signaling proteins secreted by immune system cells, offer a way to prevent development of schizophrenia in susceptible individuals or keep psychosis from occurring in veterans with the disorder? Dimitre Dimitrov,… Read More

Social Skills Training for Veterans with Schizophrenia Changes Lives for Better

By Annette M. Boyle BALTIMORE– For many veterans with schizophrenia, deficits in social skills commonly associated with the disorder can make maintaining relationships and achieving personal goals extremely challenging. The VA’s Social Skills Training (SST) program helps these veterans acquire… Read More

Convenient Primary Care Reduces CV Risk Factors in Mentally Ill

Cardiovascular disease risk factors often are comorbid with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder, yet these patients often don’t receive necessary care for those chronic conditions. In fact, veterans with SMI have fewer medical… Read More

To Plan for Future Care VA Must Assume TBI-Dementia Link

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON–The news that patients with TBI could have a higher risk of dementia later in life has reverberated far outside the veteran patient community where the research was conducted. With TBI accounting for 22% of casualties in… Read More