Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Consider unique stressors when treating members of peacekeeping operations



– Sustained peacekeeping operations are associated with unique psychological stressors, and understanding of these stressors on the part of both community and military psychiatrists can help make a difference at each stage of a deployment cycle, according to Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD.

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During a workshop at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association entitled “War and Peace: Understanding the Psychological Stressors Associated with Sustained Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs),” chaired by Dr. Ritchie of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md., various dimensions of salient psychological stress were discussed, as were approaches for minimizing any resultant impact on the psychological health of peacekeepers.

In this video interview, Dr. Ritchie discussed the differences and similarities between peacekeeping operations and military operations with respect to stressors and their effects, and the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder among peacekeepers.

Although treatment for PTSD is “pretty much the same,” it is important to “tailor the treatment for the situation,” she said.

“Lay out the different options, explain them to the patient, and partner with the patient in terms of what is the best option for them,” she said.

Dr. Ritchie reported having no relevant disclosures.

SOURCE: Ritchie EC et al. APA Workshop

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