More than half of veterans with likely PTSD do not receive treatment

More than half of veterans with likely PTSD do not receive treatment

Most people with suspected posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) do not receive care, according to a study published in the February issue of Medical Care.

Rachel M. Ranney, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues compared rates of PTSD treatment utilization (medication and psychotherapy) among veterans and nonveterans and identified factors associated with treatment utilization. The analysis included 2,775 individuals (2,508 veterans; 267 nonveterans) meeting criteria for probable PTSD.

The researchers found that the majority of participants had not received any PTSD treatment (56 percent of veterans and 86 percent of nonveterans). Veterans with probable PTSD were substantially more likely to receive any treatment for PTSD than nonveterans. Veterans with Veterans Affairs health care coverage were most likely to receive PTSD medication and psychotherapy.

However, Black veterans were less likely to have received PTSD medication and psychotherapy than White veterans. Among nonveterans, being married or divorced was most strongly associated with receiving PTSD medication compared with those who were never married.

“Concerted efforts are necessary to increase PTSD care utilization for both veteran and nonveteran populations. Public health efforts should focus on educating patients and providers about the nature and benefit of treatment for PTSD and associated symptoms,” the authors write. “Systemic change may be necessary to increase the availability of care for PTSD—especially for psychotherapy, which requires a higher time investment from providers.”

More information:
Rachel M. Ranney et al, Treatment Utilization for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a National Sample of Veterans and Nonveterans, Medical Care (2023). DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001793

Journal information:
Medical Care

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