The Politics of PTSD

It is certainly not news that US military veterans country commit suicide sometimes as a result of PTSD or “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” This includes men and women as well as military participants who have been in both combat and in non-combative environments. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, suicide rates among US military veterans are 22 per day, which is equivalent to one every 65 minutes.

PTSD is often connected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by the major media in this country. But, in fact, 10 to 20 percent of veterans who served in the Vietnam War and the Gulf War have symptoms of PTSD according the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

In general, most US citizens are not aware of the strong connection between veterans with PTSD and their prevalence as ICU patients. “More than 10 percent of our VA ICU patients suffer from PTSD,” said Dr. Jad Kebbe, a researcher at the University at Buffalo, in a press release. “Their ICU care should incorporate proper awareness of their PTSD, with particular attention to their sedation regimen.”

Researchers at VHA Western New York Healthcare System recently analyzed data on 1,569 patients collected between 2003 and 2013. “Developing sedation regimens tailored to PTSD patients may indeed reduce their sedative requirements and improve their ICU experience and outcome,” VHA Western New York Healthcare System researchers wrote in the study, which was published in the prestigious journal CHEST. Importantly, the researchers saw a statistical trend toward higher death rates in the ICU for patients with PTSD. There seems to be a tragic progression from military service to PTSD, and then to either a stay in the intensive care unit followed, sometimes, by death, or worse, suicide.

The US spends billions of dollars for the military to keep threats out of the United States. Seemingly, however, very little is done to prevent PTSD. “We’re applying all this money to counterterrorism, as we should,” House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said. “But we’re looking very little at prevention. I think this is where the health community needs to step up.” McCaul said he believes that Americans are seeing their friends and family members becoming mentally ill, and know those people need to be identified and treated
President Obama commented that the nation spends “over a trillion dollars and passed countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil.” But, America’s veterans deserve a more comprehensive and effective solution to the PTSD epidemic and American citizens need to be confident that their government is stepping up to do what it takes to properly address the problem.

Innerlife STS for Organizations is a cloud mobile platform that enables health care organizations and health insurance companies to evaluate the effectiveness of mental health care providers and track the progress of their patients. Innerlife STS uses data intelligence and analytics to curate conceptualized narrative reports that explain the effectiveness of mental health care spending on individual health care providers.

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