Veterans: What's Wrong with Current Treatments?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 18, 2011

As the White House proposes a $7.2 billion allocation in its 2012 budget to fund research and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar and psychiatrist Sally Satel explains the number of problems with current PTSD treatments and proposes methods to optimize the use of PTSD funding.

Among Satel's key points:

  • A "culture of clinical diagnosis" allows mental health examiners to diagnose a veteran's level of disability before veterans have even begun rehab. This convinces the patient that future health is unattainable, and gives individual veterans dismal prospects for meaningful recovery even before a course of therapy.
  • Disability benefits themselves can sometimes cause inadvertent damage by incentivizing unemployment and dependency and discouraging veterans from returning to the civilian workforce.
  • Collaboration between the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) needs to improve. The VBA often aims to maximize veteran benefits while giving no attention to improving clinical treatment, while the VHA often focuses solely on treatment without properly assisting veterans with financial hardships.

Sally Satel can be reached at [email protected] (202.862.7154) or through her assistant at [email protected] (202.862.4876). For all other media inquiries, please contact Hampton Foushee at [email protected] (202.862.5806).

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