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August 2017

PTSD Combined With Some Medications Dramatically Increases Dementia Risk

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appears to increase the risk of dementia in veterans but exactly why remains unclear: Is the increased risk attributable to frequent comorbidities such as diabetes and traumatic brain injury or to medications used to treat PTSD or to other factors?

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Seeks to Speed Up Adoption of Alternative Treatments for PTSD

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—VA is moving faster than it “ever has” when it comes to making complementary and integrative health (CIH) services available to veterans but needs to accelerate those efforts, a top VHA official... View Article


MHS Implements Multiple Programs to Improve PTSD and Depression Care

In the year since the release of a RAND report critical of follow-up within the Military Health System (MHS) for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, the DoD has released results of several new programs to improve screening, increase the number of therapeutic visits and track mental health measures.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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.

Current Issue

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).

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Giving Every Veteran a Hug Is Goal of Project Founder

Ian Michaels—like the other founders of the Human Hug Project—firmly believes in the healing powers of human touch.

Current Issue

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

April 2016

Service Dog Program Benefits Veterans and Their Pets

When Lindsey Stanek moved from Texas to New Mexico in 2010 with her then-husband, Jim,

Department of Defense (DoD)

Report Finds MHS Mental Healthcare Varies From Excellent to Inadequate

By Brenda L. MooneySANTA MONICA, CA — The MHS does an excellent job following up with patients after being discharged from mental healthcare treatment but falls short in some other areas, according to a new... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

MRI Study Finds ‘Brain Scars’ in Troops With Blast-Related mTBI

“Brain scars” were detected in more than half of the active-duty servicemembers who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Air Force

Air Evacuation Could Worsen Condition of Brain-Injured Servicemembers

U.S. warfighters injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan had a 90% or more rate of survival, with a substantial part of that success attributed to medical evacuation teams that swiftly flew wounded servicemembers to locations such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany or to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.

Clinical Topics Home

Making the Diagnosis: PTSD With Psychosis, Schizophrenia or Both?

The psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia appear in a significant number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, raising the following question: Do these patients have a subtype of PTSD, comorbid schizophrenia or prodromal schizophrenia?

Department of Defense (DoD)

Putting Heads Together to Improve Brain Injury Care

By Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — If you had more money for traumatic brain injury research, where would you invest it?That is one of the questions VA Secretary Robert McDonald asked TBI researchers at a recent conference... View Article


Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Modestly Better for PTSD

By Brenda L. MooneyMINNEAPOLIS — Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy performed moderately better than present-centered group therapy in helping veterans relieve self-reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).That’s according to a report published recently in the... View Article


PTSD Treatment Affected by Sleep Quality

SAN DIEGO — Sleep quality appears to have a significant effect on the success of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a veterans study.The study, led by researchers at the VA San Diego... View Article

Current Issue

Risk of Sleep Apnea Increases With PTSD Severity

SAN DIEGO — The likelihood of having a high risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) goes up with increasing severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to a study of young veterans.The study, which... View Article


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

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart Failure Is Latest Serious Health Condition Linked to PTSD

Chronic Conditions Also Associated With Past Combat ExperienceAnnette M. BoyleMINNEAPOLIS — Serious health conditions linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to mount. Researchers recently uncovered a significant link between the condition and the risk... View Article

April 2015

Telemedicine Expands to Provide Care for Rural Veterans With PTSD

SEATTLE - For rural veterans, the distance to a VAMC often creates a major barrier to care, particularly for treatments that require multiple trips.

Agencies Home

Clay Hunt Suicide Bill Blocked in Senate, Falls to Pass This Session

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON-Advocacy groups were upset last month that a bill requiring VA and DoD to conduct annual evaluations of their mental healthcare and suicide prevention programs was not passed before Congress finished its... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

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... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

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.

Department of Defense (DoD)

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... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

PTSD Still Plagues More than 1 in 10 Vietnam Veterans 40 Years Later

WASHINGTON - Thousands of Vietnam-era veterans continue to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 41 years after the war ended, a recent congressionally mandated study shows.

Current Issue

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.... View Article

2014 Issues

Brain Injury from Blasts Possible Without TBI Symptoms

By Brenda L. Mooney SALISBURY, NC – Veterans exposed to explosions during deployment but not reporting common symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) could have similar damage to the brain’s white matter, according to a... View Article

2014 Issues

VA Programs Seek to Keep Troubled Veterans Out of Jail

COLUMBIA, MO - For some veterans with unmet mental health needs, readjusting to civilian life can rapidly put them on the wrong side of the criminal justice system.

2014 Issues

Blast Exposures Associated with Long Term TBI Complications, PTSD

WASHINGTON - Warriors who served in Iraq and Afghanistan combat operations might experience lingering physical and psychological consequences of exposure to blasts.

2014 Issues

VA Epilepsy Rates Rising with Returning Servicemembers

High TBI, PTSD Comorbidity in Recent Veterans By Brenda L. Mooney WASHINGTON — U.S. veterans deployed since 2001 suffer high rates of epilepsy and other neurological disorders, and the VA is challenged in both diagnosing... View Article

2014 Issues

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.

2014 Issues

With New Apps, Counseling Clients Can Use Smartphones to Help Themselves

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON —Helping patients learn to do diaphragmatic breathing as a way to control anxiety and anxious symptoms is much easier, thanks to technology. A mobile application, Breathe2Relax, has a self-contained tool to... View Article

2014 Issues

Boston Bombing Worsens PTSD Symptoms

BOSTON — As disturbing as April’s Boston Marathon bombing was for all Americans, Boston-area military veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were especially affected, experiencing flashbacks, unwanted memories and other psychological issues.

2014 Issues

PTSD Linked to Increased Myocardial Ischemia

SAN FRANCISCO — A new study adds to the growing evidence that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have increased risks for developing myocardial ischemia.

2013 Issues

New ‘Roadmap’ Seeks Better Tools for PTSD, TBI, Suicide Research

By Sandra Basu FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The newly released National Research Action Plan has created a “common roadmap” for federal agencies to tackle mental health research to include PTSD, TBI and suicide, DoD and... View Article

2013 Issues

CPAP Shows Promise for Ending Disrupted Sleep/Nightmare Cycle in PTSD

By Brenda L. Mooney JACKSON, MS – For veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disrupted sleep and nightmares can be a vicious cycle — one feeding the other. Now, new research in the relationship... View Article

2013 Issues

New Research Shows Increased Cardiovascular Risks for TBI, PTSD Patients

By Brenda L. Mooney ANN ARBOR, MI – New research on short- and long-term cardiovascular risks from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could present significant challenges for the VA and the... View Article

2013 Issues

Survey Seeks to Establish Sexual Trauma Scale Unique to Military

By Stephen Spotswood Deleene Menefee, PhD. HOUSTON – In recent years, DoD officials have admitted publicly that military sexual trauma (MST) is a serious problem among the services, one that’s more widespread than previously recognized.... View Article

2013 Compendium of Federal Medicine

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

Department of Defense (DoD)

How Women Learn to Fear Might Explain Higher Rates of PTSD

VA Researchers Find Sex-Based Differences in Disorder By Annette M. Boyle SAN FRANCISCO — Why are women so much more likely than men to develop post-traumatic stress disorder? The answer could be differences in the... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

Veterans with mTBI Could Be Affected by Hormone Deficiencies

Hypopituitarism May Cause Insomnia, Reduced Libido, Depression By Annette M. Boyle SEATTLE — For the 30% of warriors with concussive injuries whose symptoms fail to resolve in a few months, recent research offers new hope.... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

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

Department of Defense (DoD)

Army Seeks to Improve Troop Resilience as Suicides Increase

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Against the backdrop of an uptick in suicides in its ranks, the Army announced that it is developing a campaign to increase mental health resilience among troops. Secretary of the... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

Blast Injury Without TBI Diagnosis Can Affect PTSD Development

By Brenda L. Mooney BUFFALO, NY – Blast injury might be a factor in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by servicemembers in combat, even if mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is never diagnosed.... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

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

Department of Defense (DoD)

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

Department of Defense (DoD)

Free Mobile App Offers Tools to Enhance PTSD Treatment

Source: National Center for Telehealth and Technology WASHINGTON — For servicemembers and veterans suffering from PTSD, support is as close as their smartphone. Thanks to a free mobile application known as PE Coach, available on... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Proposed Rules Would Help Veterans with Brain Injuries Claim Benefits

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The VA published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register last month that would make it easier for veterans with certain diagnosable illnesses associated with brain injuries to claim benefits.... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

Complementary Therapies Highly Effective for PTSD

By Annette M. Boyle “This is a gentle approach. Desensitization or exposure therapy is a rough thing; medications have side effects. Some people don’t want to see a counselor for [cognitive behavioral therapy]. In contrast,... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

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... View Article


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... View Article

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