By: Marty Callaghan
In its written testimony for an April 30 congressional hearing, The American Legion shared two key points emerging from an online survey it conducted last February on veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):
• Medication appears to be the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) front-line treatment reported by respondents
• A sizeable proportion of respondents reported prescriptions of up to 10 medications for PTSD/TBI across their treatment experiences.
The Legion’s testimony, “Overmedication: Problems and Solutions,” was submitted for a Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing.
Results from the Legion’s survey, based on answers from more than 3,100 respondents, will be highlighted at its June 24 symposium in Washington: “Advancing Care and Treatment for Veterans with TBI and PTSD.” The event will also focus on complementary and alternative treatments for the two conditions.
Referring to anecdotal accounts of veterans struggling with the over-prescribing of medications, the Legion stated that TBI/PTSD treatments should “include alternative treatments and therapies, and they need to make them accessible to all veterans. If these alternative treatments and therapies are deemed effective, they should be made available and integrated into the veterans’ current health care….”
In 2010, The American Legion established a committee to investigate existing science and procedures for treating TBI and PTSD, including complementary and alternative methods. Its findings and recommendations were published in the September 2013 report, “The War Within” go to http://www.legion.org/veteranshealthcare/217116/legion-releases-report-tbi-and-ptsd.
To read The American Legion’s complete written testimony for the hearing go to http://www.legion.org/documents/pdf/svac_hearing_4-30-14_overmedication_problems_and_solutions_the_american_legion_for_the_record(final).pdf .