PTSD: Army to Standardize Diagnosis and Treatment

Photo courtesy of the VA.

The Army is changing how it assesses post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, and its treatment reports the Army News Service. The plan being put into action is to standardize diagnosis and treatment within the military branches and the VA.

Army Medical Command Policy Memo 12-035 (Apr. 10, 2012) spells out the guidelines for PTSD assessment and treatment. Among the changes:

  • Discontinuing the “forensic psychiatric model” because it was focused too much on “malingering”
  • Standardizing care such as use of the most effective medications and dropping others
  • Standardizing new treatments based on research in military medicine but also first responders who deal with traumatic stress

Army medical leaders said it is critical to address and eliminate the stigma associated with seeking treatment for PTSD.

“There is still a stigma in society and in the Army, but I’ve seen an improvement over the years. We want Soldiers to reach out and seek help from the Army or even outside the base if they so desire,” said Maj. Gen. Richard W. Thomas, commander, Western Regional Medical Command.

The full Army News Service article is available HERE.


One Response

  1. I’m in the IDES system right now, it is a nightmare, I’ve seen people that can barely function get 0% from the Army and 10% from the Va, many guys appeal and they get a higher rating. It’s just such a lengthy process, it puts stress on so many families, including my own, and holds veterans back from proper healthcare. Most doctors I’ve seen are amazed I handled the Ativan situation without being separated(chaptered) first. They agree I should be in the MEB(IDES) process but that it’s going to be very hard until I get out because I can’t get thorough treatment in the Army, everything is trial and error, other vets including myself are the crash test dummies with the whole process. Adult Behavioral Health on Fort Campbell that prescribes medications and is the soldiers only resource will not let soldiers seek off post treatment, if I were to do that, I would have to pay out of pocket. They generalize us into groups so they can meet their ordered or allowed quota of soldiers that have depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and other issues, rush our appointments that are very few and far between, and worst of all they puppeteer Dr’s, like mine who is a Vanderbilt graduate and has been practicing psychology for over 40 years into making him treat myself and other soldiers with generally the same treatments. My doctor says that it is unhealthy and unnecessary to soldiers welfare and quality of life to have mandates and generalized standard operating procedures in place. I was pulled of benzodiazepine meds with no taper or taper program. That is against FDA regulation, a service member can’t file a malpractice suit, only congressional inquiries, I went through horrible and crippling withdrawals while maintaining my directed orders and obligations as a US soldier. I’m back on them now and am aware that’s not life’s answer in a pill. How will this affect my rating? The service made my condition worse.  I’ve been seeing Va doctors and they agree that it is almost criminal how they make soldiers stay at their office so they inherently receive our Tricare money for our appointments. This is an elephant in the room right now hurting thousands of veterans still on active status and their families. There is no cure for PTSD; I never went doctor shopping for drugs. I took/take everything as needed to function as prescribed. My medical records prove it. I do not drink alcohol. As a service member you can seek help if your having an issue whether it be physical, mental, financial etc. When I sought help, I ended up feeling like I was going to have a stroke. A military doctor told me benzodiazepine drugs were the answer, not SSRI’s(anti depressants) that in my opinion are just as deadly if not more deadly than benzodiazepine drugs. My treatment worked well for about 4-5 months, I’m over a year into it and I’m worse off than I was when I began. I’ll probably wait out this MEB in the Fort Campbell IDES system. Get 10% from the VA and 0 from the Army. I require 2 surgeries on each ankle and one on my right knee. C&P Psychologist diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder NOS with symptoms of PTSD. I’m not a danger to myself or others. I wish I chaptered out of the Army. I received soldier of the cycle during my JRTC rotation in January, now I can barely get out of bed. Everyone but my wife acts like it is my fault. This is the reality of my life. Not seeking sympathy. Period. I want truth and justice delivered to the public. So no other person has to experience what I have. Write congressman and other legislators. We’re in tough fiscal times in America, that is no excuse to allow many veterans to suffer. Yes, many play the system. Many malingering individuals get weeded out as well. Most people feel it’s not their problem. It never is, until it’s your son, daughter, niece, nephew, father, mother, brother, sister, friend. As an American soldier one of my warrior ethos is to never leave a fallen comrade. After extensive research and experience I can say with confidence that solutions to PTSD and other mental health conditions are scarce, one must cope day to day, case by case in order to recover. I can also say with confidence that the US government and the US military have the resources to tackle this issue head on. Why does a veteran have to wait 3 months with a new prescription to a psychotropic medication to see a doctor? No funding. No money. A false representation to active duty service and reserves that these Dr’s and counselors actually care. We get treated like trash. The professionals in place to “help” can’t keep up with their overwhelming number of patients. My physician didn’t even remember my rank, my prescriptions, or that he referred me to the medical evaluation board. That’s what computers are for I suppose, as he fumbles with his notes in front of me and scrolls through myriad med board memorandums he has written. The question is not who is to blame, but where is the solution? Thinking like a soldier should. 

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