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Clinical Topics


Depression

VA Study Addresses Concerns About Anti-Epileptic Drugs, Suicidal Behavior Link

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert about increased risk for suicidal ideation and behavior for patients taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

Depression

Augmentation Better Than Switching Drugs in MDD

The addition of an atypical anti-psychotic medication to an antidepressant regimen for veterans not responding to their current treatment led to greater improvement in symptoms of depression than switching to another antidepressant altogether.

Depression

Suicide Attempts in Army Units Appear to Be ‘Contagious’

Study Finds Links Between Higher Individual, Unit Rates BETHESDA, MD—Are soldiers in specific Army units more likely to attempt suicide? A new study looks at that issue and explores what characteristics of the units might... View Article

Depression

Depression Is 60% More Common in Women Veterans Compared to Men

Recent research uncovered some good news and bad news when it comes to female veterans and depression: Women experience depression at much higher rates than men but also are more likely to receive adequate care and report symptom improvement.

Depression

Asthma, Depression Significantly Linked in Veterans

Results of research on the relationship between both current and lifetime asthma and mental illness among veterans in the United States were published recently in the Journal of Asthma.

Depression

Suicide Risk Remains Much Higher for Military, Veterans Than Civilian U.S. Population

Suicide rates in the general U.S. population rose to their highest level in 30 years in 2014, but among both active-duty servicemembers and veterans, the rates were higher still.

Depression

Study Links Depression, Substance Abuse in Veterans

What are the patterns over time of depression, smoking, unhealthy alcohol use and other substance use among individuals receiving medical care, and when are integrated screening and treatment strategies warranted?

Depression

Combat Increases Female Veterans’ Mental Issues

While an association between combat exposure and post-deployment behavioral health problems has been demonstrated among U.S. military servicemembers returning from Afghanistan or Iraq in predominantly male samples, few studies have focused on the experiences of women.

Depression

Depression, PTSD Most Often Led to Cognitive Impairment

Self-reported cognitive impairment, such as problems with attention, concentration and memory in veterans, is more likely to occur with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than with combat-related traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Depression

Primary Care-Based Treatment Improved PTSD, Depression Without Stigma

By Brenda L. Mooney SANTA MONICA, CA – Can enhanced primary care treatment help alleviate the stigma some military servicemembers fear when told to seek mental healthcare? A new study suggests it can. Military members... View Article

Depression

VA Studies rTMS As Alternative Treatment for Depressed Veterans

How Effective Will Therapy Be for Complex Mental Health Profiles?By Annette M. BoylePALO ALTO, CA — At one point during the 20th century, the idea of using “shock treatment” on patients who failed to respond... View Article

Depression

Legislators Focus on Concerns About Suicide ‘Epidemic’ Among Women Veterans

Suicide Rate Six Times Higher Than Civilian PeersBy Annette M. BoyleDENVER — Suicide among women veterans is six times higher than among their civilian peers, according to a recently published study, and Congress wants to... View Article

Depression

High Percentage of Soldiers with Mental Illness Undiagnosed, Not Being Treated

In the wake of record-high suicide rates, the Army instituted a number of programs to identify and treat mental illness among soldiers.

Depression

PTSD/Depression Combination Increases Anger in Veterans

IRVINE, CA — Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are much more likely to have their tempers erupt if they also are depressed, according to a new study.The study, led by researchers from the University... View Article

Depression

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – When the first Infectious Disease Clinic took place at the Washington, DC, VAMC in 1985, only a handful of HIV-infected patients took advantage. In fact, the disease hadn’t even been... View Article

Depression

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.

Depression

Chronic Pain Med Use Increases Depression Incidence

ST. LOUIS – Chronic use of pain-relieving medication can increase in the risk of developing major depression, according to a new veterans study. The study, led by researchers from Saint Louis University and published recently... View Article

Depression

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.

Depression

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... View Article

Depression

Do Military Service and/or Mental Health Issues Lead to Urinary Tract Issues?

By Stephen Spotswood Benjamin Breyer, MD, Urologic Surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center SAN FRANCISCO – One of the most important realizations by VA physician researchers in the past decade has... View Article

Depression

DoD Mobile App Helps Healthcare Providers Track Own Resilience

Tool Can Help Prevent Compassion Fatigue or ‘Secondary Traumatic Stress’ By Stephen Spotswood JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCHORD, WA— One of the most insidious things about trauma is that its effects can spread far beyond the initial... View Article

Depression

New VA Study Takes Issue with FDA’s Warnings about Citalopram

By Brenda L. Mooney ANN ARBOR, MI — For nearly two years, the Food and Drug Administration has been issuing safety advisories about the risks of abnormal heart rhythms with higher doses of the antidepressant... View Article

Depression

DoD, VA Seek Earlier Joint EHR Rollout

By Sandra Basu Then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki WASHINGTON — Then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki asked for a plan to speed... View Article

Depression

Alpha Blockers Tested as Potential Treatment for PTSD Symptoms

By Stephen Spotswood Col. Kris Peterson, Chief of the Psychiatry Department at Madigan, Tammy Williams, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Dr. Murray Raskind of the Puget Sound VA, want to help soldiers deal with combative... View Article

Depression

Enlistment Waivers for Mental Health Tougher to Get with Reduction in Forces

By Annette M. Boyle Staff Sgt. Roger L. Whaley speaks with future soldier Phillip McDonald at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Radcliff, Ky. About three-quarters of potential recruits fail to meet enlistment qualifications, primarily... View Article

Depression

Medications for Depression, Psychosis Overused in VA Long-Term Care Facilities

Non-Pharmacologic Approaches Being Tested, More Data Gathered By Annette M. Boyle PITTSBURGH – Antidepressants and antipsychotic medications are being overused or prescribed inappropriately for residents of VA Community Living Centers (CLCs), according to recent research.... View Article

Depression

VA Seeks Increased Mental-Health Staff to Respond to Growing Needs Among Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON —VA’s announcement that 1,900 mental-health staff will be added to its roster is more reactive than proactive, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told legislators at a recent hearing.   “A certain number... View Article

Depression

With Increase in Bipolar Patients the VA Tackles Medication Side Effect Issues

By Steve Lewis BOSTON–Headlines may focus on mental-health issues such as schizophrenia, often related to veteran homelessness or even violent behavior, but bipolar disorder actually is increasing far faster at the VA and can be... View Article

Depression

Servicemembers Lose Benefits after Improper Discharges for Alleged Personality Disorders

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — The U.S. military continues to use improper processes to diagnose significant numbers of servicemembers with pre-existing personality disorders (PD) and then discharge them, according to government documents obtained by an... View Article

Depression

Can Virtual Reality Help Veterans Avoid As Well As Recover from PTSD?

By Stephen Spotswood  BETHESDA, MD — Research rooted in treating trauma in the civilian sector is examining how a combination of pharmaceuticals and virtual reality can help combat veterans recover more swiftly from chronic PTSD.... View Article

Depression

More Opioid Prescriptions Adverse Effects for Vets With PTSD

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Veterans with PTSD are more likely than others to be prescribed opioids for post-injury pain, and that can lead to an increase in adverse mental and physical effects, according to... View Article

Depression

Advocates say 40 percent of Vets Seek Counseling From Clergy and VA Partnership Could Help

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — According to VA statistics, four out of 10 veterans with mental-health challenges seek assistance from clergy — more than all other types of mental-health providers combined. Veteran advocates and researchers... View Article

Depression

Telemental Health Services Benefit Native Veterans

 WASHINGTON — After American Indian and Alaska Native veterans initially tried telemental health services, their use of any health services significantly increased, as did the proportion receiving psychotropic medication, a new study found.1 Telemental Health... View Article

Depression

Claims Deadline Extended for Undiagnosed Gulf War Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Continuing a pattern of easing the way for Gulf War veterans to seek care and compensation, VA has extended the presumptive period for them to file claims for benefits for... View Article

Depression

Is the VA Mental Health Scheduling System Gamed? Senators Seek Audit

Frustrated by the numerous reports of veterans unable to receive timely mental healthcare at VA facilities, legislators have called for the VA Office of the Inspector General to conduct a formal audit of wait times.

Depression

Suicide Rate Drops but Veterans Still Struggle to Get Mental Health Care

WASHINGTON — Reports about suicide prevention constantly focus on the difficulty veterans have in receiving mental healthcare, even though the suicide rate is dropping. In fact, there is little disagreement that the suicide threat is... View Article

Depression

VA’s Mental Health Care As Good or Better than Private Sector Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Veterans with mental illness and substance abuse cost nearly three times as much to treat as the average veteran. According to a VA-commissioned study by the RAND Corp. looking at data from one... View Article

Depression

Study Examines Association Between DHA Levels and Suicide Risk

WASHINGTON, DC — Diet impacts far more than waistlines and the risk of obesity. In fact, the military has been paying close attention to not only the role of nutrition in maintaining physical health, but also... View Article

Depression

Study: Common Medication Given for PTSD Has No Benefit

WASHINGTON — An antipsychotic medication commonly used by VA to treat combat-related PTSD has been found to have no discernible benefit. Patients taking the drug risperidone (Risperdal) did no better than those taking a placebo,... View Article

Depression

Long Wait Times for Mental Health Care Continue to Plague VA

WASHINGTON — Poor coordination and staffing problems were identified as major factors in veterans’ receiving inadequate care at Atlanta VA Medical Center mental-health clinics, according to a VA Inspector General (IG) report released last month.... View Article

Depression

Think VA’s Budget Has Grown Rapidly? You May Not Have Seen Anything Yet

VA’s medical-care budget has grown rapidly since 2001 —$27 billion or 130% — but government budget officials suggest that is a minor increase compared to what is coming: the lifetime costs of treating troops who... View Article

Depression

President to Send Suicide Condolence Letters

WASHINGTON, DC— Families of servicemembers who commit suicide will now receive condolence letters from the President, just as families of troops who die in combat or of other service-related injuries currently do. This reversal of... View Article

Depression

Difficulties in Detecting Schizophrenia Can Have Serious Consequences in Military Setting

An Army private, who recently was sentenced by a military court to 12 ½ years in prison for the murder of an Afghan detainee, walked into a cell at a U.S. outpost in Afghanistan and... View Article

Depression

Physical Ailments Begin Immediately After Deployment in Young Veterans with PTSD, Substance Abuse Disorders

WASHINGTON — Young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are diagnosed with PTSD or substance-use disorders (SUD) are more likely to suffer from a host of physical ailments, particularly musculoskeletal disorders, according to study... View Article

Depression

Congress Asks: In Wake of Court Ruling, Should VA Do More to Push Troubled Veterans Into Treatment?

WASHINGTON — Does VA need to employ more aggressive tactics when it comes to getting veterans struggling with PTSD, depression and s ubstance abuse into treatment?  Should some of those tactics involve using disability benefits... View Article

Depression

New Toolkit Advises Providers on Care of mTBI Patients With Additional Conditions Such as PTSD, Pain

Use short, simple sentences. Summarize key points throughout the appointment. These are among the tips that a recently released toolkit recommends to providers treating military personnel with mTBI who are also suffering from co-occurring health... View Article

Depression

Psychiatric Issues in HCV-Infected Veterans Must Be Managed With Underlying Disease

Managing the physical disease alone is not enough with veterans infected with hepatitis C and who also have high rates of mental health conditions. Addressing the psychiatric issues is especially critical when interferon-based therapies—where depression... View Article

Depression

Indian Tradition of Family Care Can Delay Diagnosis, Help for Caregivers

WASHINGTON, DC—Risks for dementia are on the rise among American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), but cultural traditions sometimes have led to delayed diagnosis and, therefore, inadequate help for family caregivers, according to Indian Health... View Article

Depression

TBI Symptoms, Severity Differ for Women Veterans But Cause Remains A Mystery

WASHINGTON, DC—As more data is emerging on the short and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), researchers are discovering that the injury affects women differently than it does men. Most notably, there seems to... View Article

Depression

VA Spending on Chronic Diseases Reflects Treatment Changes Over Last Decade

WASHINGTON, DC—The fastest growing segment of patients treated at the nation’s VA facilities are those with four or more chronic diseases, increasing from 15% to 22% in an eight-year period ending in 2008, according to... View Article

           

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