Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Albuquerque VA Hospital To Docs: No Medical Marijuana

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The majority of people enrolled in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For many veterans, however, the Albuquerque VA hospital is their primary source of health care but physicians employed there are forbidden from recommending medical marijuana to their patients.

The VA bases their “no medical marijuana” policy on the advice of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Despite New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug. The VA policy works in a twofold manner:

  • VA Physicians can recommend treatments outside the VA system; but
  • VA physicians are encouraged to counsel patients in alternative treatments to marijuana.

Many veterans complain the standard pills used to control their PTSD symptoms resulted in the veterans feeling as if they were in a “zombie-like” state whereas medical marijuana allows them to lower the amount of prescription pills they take and does not include such severe side effects.

There is some research supporting the idea that marijuana does help veterans suffering from PTSD garner some relief.

The reality of the current situation is that veterans often self-medicate with the most common choices being alcohol or prescription drugs. The VA will help veterans that come off active duty addicted to pain killers, but that veteran will have a real problem if he or she tests positive for marijuana.

Essentially, the VA refuses to help veterans obtain a state license for medical marijuana. If they do, however, obtain a license, the VA may possibly accommodate those veterans in its rehabilitation programs. The Albuquerque VA has not yet said if they will consider a veteran’s positive drug test for marijuana as a relapse if that veteran has a state license.

Learn more about the Albuquerque VA’s policy regarding medical marijuana.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.

Videoconferencing Helping Veterans Deal With Anger Issues

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

One issue plaguing the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) lately is getting effective mental health care to those veterans returning from active duty and living in very remote areas. A new VA study may have found an answer to this problem: videoconferencing. The study suggests technology such as remote videoconferencing can be used to treat anger management just as well as group therapy.

Current estimations hold 40% of current combat veterans hail from remote areas of the U.S. One in six returns following deployment with combat-related post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) or PTSD related issues.

The study lasted four years and included 125 male combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD related anger. Participants were randomly selected to participate in either group sessions or therapy via video. With obvious exceptions of the presence of the counselor, both types of sessions were identical. Both groups were arranged in a circle with the therapist in the same spot, live or over video.

After six months, the end results were that both groups showed similar reductions in anger. The positive results of this study have led researchers to begin to attempt the same type of video therapy to treat PTSD itself, which involves much more complex treatments.

Confidentiality is a major concern with videoconferencing. In order for the videoconferencing to be successful, the technology must not be able to be breached. Three quarters of the participants in the study were Vietnam veterans and it is believed veterans of the current wars will be much more comfortable with such a scenario as they are much more used to technology.

Learn more about how videoconferencing can help veterans get needed mental health treatment.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact LaVan & Neidenberg, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-888-234-5758 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.

Veterans’ Courts Seeing High Success Rates

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Veterans returning from combat often face personal obstacles while attempting to re-adapt into the civilian world. Returning veterans often fail at adjusting back into a “normal” life because they don’t have the proper support system or resources.

Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seem to be demonstrating inordinate amounts of chronic psychological conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some studies suggest up to 50% of veterans with PTSD or other major emotional disorders do not seek treatment for various reasons.

Veterans with psychological disorders who are not able to fit back into civilian life will normally end up homeless, addicted to drugs, in the court system, or all three. According to the VA, veterans account for 10% of all people with a criminal record.

Veterans’ courts were developed out of the idea that mental disorders, addiction, and homelessness are not best served by putting those people in jail. Buffalo, NY initiated the country’s first veterans’ court in 2008 and for the most part, handles solely nonviolent offenses.

The court matches veterans guilty of nonviolent felony or misdemeanor offenses with volunteer mentors. Once they are matched up, the veterans are:

  • Required to stick to a very stringent schedule of court appearances; and
  • Required to attend every court appearance.

Out of the 120 veterans enrolled in the Buffalo court program, 90% of the graduates have successfully completed the program. Quite possibly the most important part of the entire court program is the recidivism rate, which for the Buffalo court is zero.

The success of this program has inspired 22 other cities and counties to start their own veterans’ courts. Further, Senators John Kerry and Lisa Murkowsli introduced legislation to the Senate specifically to fund more veterans’ courts handling only nonviolent offenders.

Not everyone is thrilled with the veterans’ courts. Some ACLU chapters have issues with creating a separate legal class of individuals based on their veteran status. They look at this court as giving the veterans a chance not available to the general population.

Whatever comes of these courts, what is being demonstrated is that treatment works much better in some situations than incarceration. At least in these situations, counseling and monitoring are much more effective than simply locking people away.

Learn more about specialized veterans courts.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact LaVan & Neidenberg, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-888-234-5758 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.

Service Dogs Used To Aid Veterans With PTSD

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Sgt. Paul Martin returned to Camp Lejeune with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from his first deployment to Iraq. Two deployments later, he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and began to show incapacitating symptoms, including:

  • Nightmares;
  • Auditory hallucinations;
  • Agoraphobia; and
  • Depression.

Following numerous suicide attempts, Martin was sent to a VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. There he heard about Paws4People, a nonprofit providing service dogs to those in need. Martin’s caseworker suggested he apply for a dog.  Sgt. Martin met a black Labrador named Lia, and made an instant connection.

Paws4Pets uses prison inmates to help train and rehabilitate service dogs for ownership. Once a veteran in need chooses a dog, the veteran spends time with the dog, and performs tasks with the dog that will eventually aid the veteran in his or her recovery to ensure there is a good match. There is no set amount of time before Paws4Pets will send a service dog home with a veteran for permanent placement.

Dogs like Lia are specifically trained to fit with their veteran’s symptoms. With Martin, Lia is trained to wake him from nightmares and “nudge” him out of a hallucination.

Martin has had incredible success with this program and has practically turned his life around. Paws4Pets has had success with other veterans as well and is currently attempting to open a new program in Ft. Stewart, Georgia.

Learn more about Paws4Pets and how they aid veterans with PTSD.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact LaVan & Neidenberg, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-888-234-5758 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.

Camp Lejeune Facing Inquiry for Mental Health Care

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Camp Lejeune is coming under fire again; this time for a report claiming Marines stationed there have received sub-standard mental health care. Rep. Walter Jones (R), A North Carolina Congressman, called for the inquiry following reports a whistleblower was retaliatory fired.

Dr. Kernan Manion has 25 years of psychiatry experience and holds a specialty in traumatic brain injury (TBI). Last year he complained to his commanders that the military was not properly addressing:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);
  • Poor facilities; and
  • Proper hospital security to prevent a Fort-Hood like situation from occurring.

Manion raised questions about the mental health care being provided to Marines by a private contractor on the base. Manion claims he was then fired for writing the memos. Allegedly, Manion’s job performance evaluations were completed after he was fired but were pulled back and his ratings for judgment, ethical conduct, and ability to work with peers were changed from satisfactory to unsatisfactory.

Rep. Jones claims his office has received numerous calls regarding the mental health care at Camp Lejeune. These calls have raised serious questions about how Marines and their families are being treated by the mental health system.

In response, Camp Lejeune’s base commander stated Manion’s complaints were reviewed and addressed. He goes on to say there is a current explosion for demand in mental health services and it is their primary concern to treat Marines in need.

Learn more about the alleged substandard mental health care being offered to Marines in Camp Lejeune.

If you are a veteran who has been denied disability compensation by the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. We can appeal your rating decision and fight for your rights. You are entitled to certain programs and benefits based upon your VA rating decision so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.

New State Program Helps Combat Veterans With Mental Health Issues

Friday, February 5th, 2010

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services developed a new program to help veterans returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008 the Wounded Warrior program was developed to give aid to Virginia’s combat veterans not in federal service.

The Wounded Warrior program provides services in conjunction with local community service boards. The district is given money for general counseling care specifically to aid in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s).

Between 2002 and 2009 — 480,324 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans went to the VA for help. Of these, just under half were diagnosed with some sort of mental health disorder and 53% of these were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Virginia’s veteran population consists largely of reservists and guardsmen. These two groups of people are more likely to have combat-related problems; especially if they have deployed more than once. To make matters worse, there is real difficulty in getting younger combat veterans into therapy because of the stigma attached to psychiatric illnesses.

Additionally, older guardsmen and reservists may experience more mental trauma by being forced to leave families and established lives to deploy. Upon their return, they may have more trouble adjusting back to civilian life because they no longer have the support of fellow soldiers they relied on during their deployment.

These programs are designed to help veterans get much needed help. In order for them to work, however, the veterans need to make the effort to get involved.

Learn more about Virginia helping their returning combat veterans cope with their mental health issues.

If you are a veteran who has been denied disability compensation by the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. We can appeal your rating decision and fight for your rights. You are entitled to certain programs and benefits based upon your VA rating decision so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.

Veterans Suffering from PTSD To Get Benefits Upgrades

Monday, February 1st, 2010

More than 4,300 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan were diagnosed while still in service with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) yet were given low military disability ratings. Per a new agreement, those veterans will see that disability rating rise to 50% and will be applied retroactively.

This agreement will grant veterans eligibility for disability retirement from their date of discharge. Further, it will give veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children access to the military’s health insurance. The agreement could also pay any out-of-pocket medical expenses retroactively since the date of discharge as well as giving these veterans more access to the base.

This agreement stemmed out of the The National Veterans Legal Services Program filing a class-action lawsuit contending the military illegally denied retiree status and medical benefits to those veterans separated as unfit for service due to being diagnosed with stress. Evaluation boards regularly separate members with disability ratings as low as 10% in an effort to lower personnel costs.

Veterans rated below 30% receive a lump sum severance pay as opposed to an immediate annuity and lifetime health coverage. In October 2008, the services were advised to rate people diagnosed with stress at 50% disability. Congress also ordered the defense department to create a board whose purpose is to investigate all service-generated disability ratings of 20% or less for all medically separated veterans since September 11, 2001.

Learn more about the benefit upgrade for veterans with PTSD.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact LaVan & Neidenberg, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-888-234-5758 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.

Brain Scans Identify PTSD in Injured Veterans

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Doctors may have a new tool to identify – and subsequently treat – the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans and wounded soldiers.

A recent study by University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center has found that a high-powered brain scan can identify PTSD in the patient’s brain

A story from Minnesota.PublicRadio.org reports that over the course of the study, doctors were able to use the brain scan to spot cases of PTSD more than 90 percent of the time. This type of medical advance could be a huge help for veterans trying to prove their disability cases. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among disabled veterans and wounded soldiers. Symptoms of PTSD – such as flashbacks and depression –are debilitating, but can be difficult to quantify, a fact that can hinder a veteran’s disability benefits claim.

If you are a wounded veteran suffering from PTSD, talk to your doctor about whether this new high-powered brain scan could be used to prove that you suffer from PTSD. This tool should enable you to gain more concrete evidence of your PTSD and help you to prove your veterans’ disability case.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact LaVan & Neidenberg, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-888-234-5758 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.

Veteran Killed By Police Suffered From PTSD

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The heart-breaking death of 24-year-old Kenneth Ellis III illustrates the significant problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for veterans and wounded soldiers returning home.

CBS affiliate KRQE-TV (channel 13) reports that Iraq War veteran Kenneth Ellis III was fatally shot on Jan. 13 in Albuquerque, N.M. Police said he was brandishing a gun and refused to put it down and a police officer fatally shot him. 

The local VA hospital and Kenneth Ellis’s family have confirmed that the disabled veteran victim had suffered PTSD as a result of his time spent in combat overseas. Officials are reviewing the courses of treatment that Ellis received in response to his PTSD symptoms. 

PTSD is common among veterans of combat. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are often debilitating and can include: 

  • Intrusive memories
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Hyper-emotional arousal 

Veterans with PTSD may be entitled to receive Veterans’ Disability Compensation. Those who have served our country and suffered injury in the course of their service should be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

If you are a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD, depression, or a TBI, and you are fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact LaVan and Neidenberg – a disability rights law firm based in Florida and Georgia.

Morphine May Prevent PTSD in Wounded Troops

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

 

Morphine, administered soon after injury, might be helpful in preventing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms for soldiers wounded in combat.

The Washington Post this week reported on a new study conducted by the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego – and published in the New England Journal of Medicine – that links morphine to reducing PTSD in wounded troops.

The study included roughly 700 troops, all of whom were injured in Iraq. Those injured soldiers who were given morphine soon after sustaining injuries were about 50% less inclined to exhibit signs of PTSD.

According to the Post, the researchers have developed several theories as to why morphine might prevent PTSD, including that morphine might work to prevent traumatic memories from ever forming.

Morphine is commonly used to treat pain from battle-related injuries, but medical experts may require more conclusive proof before morphine is indicated as a preventative treatment for PTSD.

PTSD is common among soldiers and veterans, particularly those that have experienced combat. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimates that as many as 40% of veterans in VA hospitals suffer from PTSD.

PTSD can be a debilitating condition, but it can be treated successfully. If you think you are suffering from PTSD you should contact a mental health professional to get treatment. You deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life and  the right treatment can help you to do that.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact the veteran rights law firm of LaVan and Neidenberg.