Conference Coverage

Consider heterogeneous experiences among veteran cohorts when treating PTSD



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– Veterans are not a homogeneous group, and when treating them for posttraumatic stress, it helps to consider their specific cohort, according to Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD.

Veterans from the first Gulf War, for example, have lingering concerns regarding medical illness (Gulf War syndrome); those from Vietnam are aging and might have medical problems or find that while they did well while working, now they are experiencing PTSD symptoms for the first time; and those returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan might have physical injuries from blasts – the “signature weapon” of those wars. Such blasts can cause amputations, genital injuries, head trauma, and PTSD, said Dr. Ritchie, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.

In this video interview, Dr. Ritchie discusses these and other issues related to the treatment of PTSD among veterans as presented during a workshop entitled “Psychiatry and U.S. Veterans,” which she chaired at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

The workshop covered the spectrum of treatments that might be helpful for veterans.

One thing I find with veterans is that they really want to have control over their treatment. They don’t want it to just be the doctor giving them a pill,” she said. “Veterans are resilient; they’re tough; they don’t like to be thought of as victims ... and when you’re working with them, it’s very important to link into that dynamic resilient piece and capitalize on their strengths.”

Dr. Ritchie reported having no disclosures.

SOURCE: Ritchie EC et al. APA Workshop.

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