Clinically Speaking is a blog that will allow anyone to learn about Social Work, case presentations in psychotherapy, and the relationship of pop culture in psychology. Come one...come all!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

PTSD and Veterans: Part one

Two weeks ago, I posted a very short blog about PTSD and veterans. That post focused on a small part of the negative consequences that a veteran endures when suffering with the illness of PTSD(aside from the actual illness). 

Today, we will go into what may be a potential barrier for a veteran to receive the appropriate attention to treat PTSD. 
In July 2010, President Obama passed new regulations in expediting veterans in receiving the appropriate services to treat PTSD. It appears that it will help in receiving services, but not to expedite through the bureaucratic red tape.  James Dao, a wrote a column in the New York Times, Groups Find Trauma Rule Veterans Lacking and reported that even though the new regulations help, it does not solve the problem entirely. He reported "[the bill]eliminates a requirement that veterans document specific events like firefights or bomb blasts that might have caused their P.T.S.D...At issue is a provision saying that a final determination on whether a veteran’s disorder is tied to service — instead of, say, a car crash — can be made only by a physician or psychologist working for the Department of Veterans Affairs." This means if you are not an employee of the VA, a private practitioner could not do the evaluation and therefore the evaluation becomes useless.

To me this is absolutely  ludicrous and I don't me the rapper, I mean literally asinine for so many reasons. Three reasons in particular. 
One: While I am sure the mental health professionals within the VA's are qualified, I am almost certain that each VA has a "quota" that they need to fill. Whether it be for clinicians to have certain amount patients in their case load or the agency having to fulfill a census to continue its federal funding. 
Two: Two words- Public Relations. The VA wants to be sure that the American public and future veterans know that they are at the fore front of spear heading good practices and treatment for our heroes. Doa, goes onto report that the reason for keeping it "in house" is to assure "consistency in examinations". Really? You actually think that a psychologist or social worker at the VA would come up with such a different diagnosis than a private practitioner. 
Three: Stigma still exists, what happens if a particular veteran does not feel comfortable in seeking treatment in a clinic type setting and would rather be treated in a small office? Now you are forcing the veteran to put them self in a position of possibly not seeking the help, because a private practitioner may make an "inconsistent examination" according to the VA! C'mon man!

Time will tell in the end, what the most effective way to treat our veterans...if I were a betting man...which I am...I don't think this will ultimately be the best way. If you are curious of how bad a problem this is, it is reported that 18 veterans a day commit suicide...That's on you Washington!

Next post will focus on treatment options and new practices on treating veterans with suffer from PTSD.

Happy almost weekend and Happy Social Work month!

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