Assessment of Ongoing Efforts in the Treatment of PTSD

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Substance Use and Mental Health, Military and Veterans Health
Board: Board on the Health of Select Populations

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Activity Description

The IOM will convene a committee to conduct a study of ongoing efforts in the treatment of PTSD. The study will be conducted in 2 phases: the focus in phase 1 will be on data gathering and will result in the initial study as noted in the congressional legislation; the focus in phase 2 will be on the analysis of data and result in the updated study. The work of the committee is dependent upon the timely delivery of data, in a usable format, from the DOD and the VA on their current PTSD programs.

In phase 1 of the study, the committee will collect data from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on programs and methods available for the prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of post-traumatic stress disorder. The committee will highlight collaborative efforts between DOD and the VA in those areas. Additionally, the committee will consider the status of studies and clinical trials involving innovative treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder that are conducted by the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the private sector, with regard to:

  • efforts to identify physiological markers of post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • efforts to determine causation of post-traumatic stress disorder, using brain imaging studies and studies looking at the correlation between brain region physiology and post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses and the results (including any interim results) of such efforts;
  • the effectiveness of alternative therapies in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, including the therapeutic use of animals;
  • the effectiveness of administering pharmaceutical agents before, during, or after a traumatic event in the prevention and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder; and
  • identification of areas in which the DOD and the VA may be duplicating studies, programs, or research with respect to post-traumatic stress disorder.

In phase 2 of the study, the committee will analyze the data received in phase 1 specifically to determine the rates of success for each program or method; and an estimate of the number of members of the Armed Forces and veterans diagnosed by the DOD or the VA as having post-traumatic stress disorder and the number of such veterans who have been successfully treated. In addition, the committee will focus on targeted interventions at Fort Hood, TX; Fort Bliss, TX; Fort Campbell, TN; and any other locations the committee deems necessary, including VA facilities. The committee will also examine gender-specific and racial and ethnic group-specific mental health treatment services available for members of the Armed Forces, including: the availability of such treatment and services; the access to such treatment and services; the need for such treatment and services; and the efficacy and adequacy of such treatment and services. Finally, the committee will examine the current and projected future annual expenditures by the DOD and the VA for the treatment and rehabilitation of PTSD; and provide recommendations for areas for future research with respect to post-traumatic stress disorder.

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