WASHINGTON—A VA panel this summer opted not to add the new depression medication esketamine, Spravato, to the department’s formulary in the usual way. This came despite strong support from President Donald Trump and an effort... View Article
VA Panel Puts Limits on Use of Drug PHILADELPHIA—Is esketamine a revolutionary treatment for depression or just another moderately effective adjunctive medication with some potentially serious risks? The VA’s Medical Advisory Panel leaned toward the... View Article
Condition Significantly Increases Veterans’ Healthcare Costs ORLANDO, FL—VA clinicians now will be able to prescribe a form of ketamine to help patients with treatment-resistant depression. The condition is associated with healthcare resource utilization and costs... View Article
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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
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
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
In the wake of record-high suicide rates, the Army instituted a number of programs to identify and treat mental illness among soldiers.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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