The decrease in "(d)irect costs associated with mental health care" among a group of "70 veterans who completed prolonged exposure or cognitive processing therapy at a Midwestern VA medical center," according to an article in the January issue of Military Medicine -- Service Utilization Following Participation in Cognitive Processing Therapy or Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The present study found that veterans who had successfully completed PE or CPT reduced their mental health service utilization by 32% the year following treatment when compared to the year before the initiation of PE or CPT. This statistically significant reduction in service consumption resulted in a 39.4% reduction in direct costs from an average of $5173.20 in the year before treatment to $3133.10 in the year following treatment per veteran. The estimated cost of providing PE is $2267.68 and for CPT is $2082.42. These findings are consistent with prominent service-utilization frameworks and lends support to the notion that illness severity characteristics play a large role in service consumption.28 These preliminary findings are the first to demonstrate that within veteran samples, the successful completion of PE and CPT for PTSD significantly reduces mental health service utilization and outweighs the investment cost of providing these services.
According to this paper -- which cites a December 2000 article in The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics -- The civilian labor market experiences of Vietnam-era veterans: the influence of psychiatric disorders -- "PTSD results in an estimated $3 billion of lost productivity per year, lowers the likelihood of veterans working for pay, and negatively impacts veterans’ wages."