IOM: Service members should get annual PTSD screenings

Military service members should be screened annually for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs should expand access to PTSD treatments, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

The report—funded by the Pentagon—found that as many as 20% of the 2.6 million service members who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan may have PTSD.

However, only slightly more than half of service members who have been diagnosed with PTSD have received treatment. That disparity partly is because of a provider shortage and lack of access to certain health services in rural areas.

The report stated that PTSD treatment should include cognitive behavioral therapy and that a broader use of telemedicine or virtual therapies could help expand treatment to service members in rural areas (Dao, "At War," New York Times, 7/13; Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 7/13 [subscription required]).

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