LeRoy Collins Commentary 269

Commentary #269
20 January 2009

PTSD Intel

Here is something we should be concerned about continually. A lot of effort is going here. Our young warriors have seen some traumatic sights and are scarrred for life as a result...

/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.

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23% Of Veterans Who Sought VA Treatment Since 2002 Have Been Diagnosed With PTSD.

The AirForceTimes.com (1/17, McMichael) reports, "More than 44 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have sought treatment at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility have been diagnosed with one or more possible mental disorders, according to the agency's most recent summary of veteran health care. All told, a total of 178,483 veterans who came to VA for help were diagnosed with possible mental disorders from fiscal 2002 through September 2008, according to the January report of the VHA Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards.

Of that total, 92,998 service members, or 23 percent, were diagnosed with possible post-traumatic stress disorder, while 63,009, or 16 percent, were found to have possible depressive disorders. The VA figures overlap to an unknown extent because officials say a veteran may have been diagnosed with more than one disorder.... Because the service members seeking treatment were not randomly selected and are less than one-quarter of the total population of veterans of the wars, VA cautions that they are not a true representative sample. VA also says that up to one-third of its diagnoses might not have been confirmed because they were provisional pending further evaluation, and that revising records is a resource-intensive effort rarely done in the public or private sector.

At the same time, the number of VA's possible diagnoses of PTSD has risen 'quite steadily' over the past seven years. And, said Antonette Zeiss, VA's deputy director for mental health services, 'there's a steeper rate of increase between each of the quarterly reports as time goes on.' In addition, the 23 percent of veterans seen by VA who were initially diagnosed with PTSD, Zeiss agreed, is generally in line with outside estimates." An April study by the Rand Corp. "found that many service members say they don't seek treatment for psychological illnesses because they fear the repercussions will harm their careers. 'We know there are guys who desperately need help who aren't coming to us,' said Phil Budahn, a VA spokesman."

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/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.
www.leroycollins.org


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