Psychiatric Care of the Post-September 11 Combat Veteran: A Review.
BACKGROUND:Post-September 11, 2001 combat veterans represent a growing cohort of patients with unique mental health needs, particularly around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The United States (US) remains engaged in conflicts around the globe, so this patient cohort will continue to grow in number. With around 40% of American combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking mental health care outside of the Veterans Affairs, understanding the psychiatric needs of the post-September 11 combat veteran is an important goal for all psychiatrists. These patients are relevant to consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatrists because of their high comorbidity of conditions such as TBI, obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and chronic pain. This article reviews the current literature on mental health care for the post-September 11 combat veteran, emphasizing PTSD and TBI treatment, and culling evidence-based recommendations from randomized controlled trials of combat veterans. Emphasis is also placed on the Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines. The authors also bring unique clinical expertise of having served on active duty as psychiatrists for the US Army, including in a combat zone, and both currently work in a Veterans Affairs Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran mental health clinic. OBJECTIVE:This review outlines useful treatment approaches for PTSD and TBI and briefly covers the comorbid conditions of major depression, chronic pain, and substance use disorders. This review will prepare C-L psychiatrists to care for this challenging patient cohort.
Johnson, JM; Capehart, BP
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