PTSD Treatment for Soldiers Improving, But More Work Needed

One of my personal passions is doing what I can as an American to support our troops and veterans in these difficult times.

Last Friday, the Institute of Medicine released a new study on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When it comes to diagnosing and treating posttraumatic stress disorder among soldiers returning from service in Afghanistan, Iraq and other modern battle theaters, the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense still have a long way to go to meet the needs of armed service members, according to a new Institute of Medicine study.


The study estimated that PTSD, which is often triggered by traumatic events that are commonplace in combat life, affects somewhere between 13 to 20 percent of the 2.6 million soldiers who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001. Of those veterans diagnosed with PTSD, 50 percent also show signs of other related conditions, such as depressive symptoms and substance abuse. The absence of support from society and loved ones can increase the risk. In 2010, the VA treated more than 430,000 veterans with the disorder.

The IOM’s research grew out of congressional concern about the incidence of PTSD among returning soldiers. Congress directed the VA and Defense Department to support the project in the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

Finally, one of my favorite charities is Soldiers’ Angels.

Soldiers’ Angels was started by a self-described ordinary motherof two American soldiers, Patti Patton-Bader.  Her eldest son, Staff Sergeant Brandon Varn, deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004, and her youngest was deployed in 2008.

In the summer of his 2003, Brandon expressed concern that some soldiers in his deployed unit did not receive any mail or support from home.  Being a loving and caring mother, Patti decided not to allow a situation like that to continue.  She quickly contacted a handful of friends and extended family and asked if they would support a soldier or two.  Within just a few months, Soldiers’ Angels went from a mother sending a few extra care packages and letters, to an Internet community with thousands of Angels worldwide. 

With more and more merchants donating services, money and items for packages, Soldiers’ Angels reorganized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2004.  Soldiers’ Angels currently supports tens of thousands of American military personnel around the world and here at home.  Today our hundreds of thousands of volunteers are led by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees as Soldiers’ Angels works around the world to address military-related needs ranging from deployed support to wounded care, to remembrance of the fallen and a wide variety assistance for military families. 

If you can, please consider donating to Soldiers’ Angels.  It is a worthwhile cause run by fantastic people.


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