A U.S. Veteran, I’ll call him Steve, walked into my office following his third and final military deployment. He was referred to me for an evaluation of a potential traumatic brain injury (TBI). As a member of an artillery unit, traveling across Iraq in convoys, Steve, who is a composite, not an actual person, witnessed many deaths and injuries; he felt lucky to have returned safely home without significant limitations, other than post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Blog posts with the tag "Guest Perspective"
This past year our research team published the results of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) testing brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (BCBT) as compared to treatment as usual (TAU) for the prevention of suicidal behavior among military personnel. BCBT is the first scientifically-supported intervention for preventing suicidal behavior in the military. Soldiers who received the 12-session BCBT were 60% less likely to make a suicide attempt during the 2-year follow-up as compared to Soldiers who received TAU. As the public’s awareness of BCBT grows, there has been considerable interest in understanding more about this treatment. Below I provide answers to some of the most common questions asked about BCBT.
As a researcher and clinician who has worked with military personnel and Veterans for over 15 years, one of my most important priorities is providing the best assessment and treatment possible to those experiencing post-deployment mental health problems. While excellent, evidence-based treatments exist for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many military personnel and Veterans continue to meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD after psychotherapy,1 highlighting an imperative need for innovative treatments. Designing, improving and implementing these treatments is a major focus of my research.
“Die woman, die!” These are the words of HM2 Jones (All patient material has been de-identified), a 30-year-old Navy FMF corpsman with two tours to Iraq, as he watches an Iraqi woman lay dying. She has just killed one of his Marines during a firefight, and he has just returned fire on her. Yet as the corpsman, his role now is to save her. “I wanted her to die. I was so angry. It bothers me that it doesn’t bother me, Doc. Is that wrong? Am I evil?” He continues to question his capacity for evil.
Over the past several years I have seen the same bewildered expression on the faces of numerous Veterans as they struggle to understand and explain their own actions. After several months of treatment, one such client was finally able to articulate, “It’s like there’s a switch in my head that suddenly turns on and it takes everything I’ve got to fight the impulse to do something crazy.”