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Health Agencies Update
August 22/29, 2012

Military PTSD Care

JAMA. 2012;308(8):753. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.10695

Fewer than half of the individuals who screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving with the US military in Iraq or Afghanistan have been referred for further evaluation or treatment, according to a report (http://tinyurl.com/bn9dwlk) from the Institute of Medicine on the handling of PTSD by the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA).

According to the report, 13% to 26% of the 2.6 million service members who have served in these war theaters since 2001 may have PTSD. But only 40% of individuals who screen positive for PTSD are referred for further care, and of these, only 65% receive care. The report notes that some patients may forgo care because they are concerned that the stigma associated with a psychiatric disorder will sidetrack their career. Individuals may also struggle to access care because of logistical difficulties in combat settings or geographic and other barriers to care once they have returned to the United States.