Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

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.

VA Reports Huge Jump In Suicide Rate For Young Veterans

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

New statistics from the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) reveal that the soldier suicide rate for young veterans has risen sharply in recent years.

USA Today reports that the VA used information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drawn from 16 states to determine that suicide rates for 18- to 29-year-old male veterans increased by 26%. This increase occurred during the two-year period between 2005 and 2007.

While the report did not specify critical information about the individual cases of veteran suicide, it is likely that the victims had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Many returning soldiers who have served their country and experienced combat while overseas might experience a number of physical and psychological challenges, including PTSD symptoms, depression, sustained injury and disability. These factors can cause extreme stress and complications for a veteran as they adapt to life after active duty.

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

Veterans Claim the VA Left Them Stranded

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

A number of veterans blame their current mental health issues on the way they were treated as a result of them participating in a Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy group inside the Loma Linda VA Medical Center. The VA Medical Center hosted two PTSD support groups with 15 veterans in each group. The psychologist that led the two groups ended up leaving the medical center and thereby changed the dynamic of the group.

The VA told the groups they could continue their meetings but a professional facilitator would only be available once a month. The groups, then, would be left to help themselves for three weeks out of the month.

The VA has stated peer-led groups are effective based on the success of other groups at that VA. The patients in the PTSD group, however, believe the VA has more underlying, nefarious motives. The PTSD patients believe the VA Medical Center is attempting to break up the group and at the same time save money.

A sudden shift in the dynamic of a group like that could be construed as misguided, according to experts. Nationwide, the VA is taking two new approaches toward how they treat PTSD:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, a classroom approach dealing with individual symptoms; and
  • Exposure-based therapy, a theory which asks veterans to relive their traumatic experience in a safe environment.

Setting aside the effectiveness of the two approaches, experts believe neither one should be attempted without professional guidance at the group level as there is the risk of doing harm without supervision.

Following PTSD therapy groups being cut last year in other VA medical centers, VA headquarters in Washington, D.C. ordered these groups not be cut; they were subsequently reinstated. The consequences of cutting groups or suddenly removing someone in a leadership role can be dire and can include:

  • Increased anger and depression;
  • An increase in symptoms generally associated with PTSD such as: Nightmares, Hyper vigilance, Insomnia;
  • Increased suicidal thoughts or behaviors;
  • Anger towards the VA;
  • Relapsing of substance abuse;
  • Feelings of not being able to make any progress on their own; and
  • General regression;

The VA anticipates a large influx of people in the coming months as more people start to return from Middle East Deployments and as people leave the military. There is going to be more of a need for qualified PTSD groups available in order to incorporate and implement the VA’s new PTSD treatments.

Soldiers Need Sufficient Dwell Time to Mentally Recover From Deployment

Monday, December 21st, 2009

A new study performed by the Army’s Sixth Mental Health Advisory Team found soldiers returning from Iraq deployments have needed at least three years at their home base to recapture their level of pre-deployment mental health. The military calls this time spent at home bases between deployments “dwell time.” 

Currently, soldiers spent approximately 1 year at home between deployments. While the Army planned on extending the current dwell time to 2 years, it seems unlikely given President Obama’s recent commitment to deploy more troops to Afghanistan.  

According to the study, the more time soldiers spent at home between deployments, the less likely they were to report signs of: 

The study concluded it took a soldier 3 years being stateside to make a full mental health recovery. Essentially, the greater the amounts of dwell time, the better the mental health of the soldier.  

Outside of having proper dwell time, the other major contributing factor to mental health issues was the intensity of the combat the individual soldier experienced while deployed. This is coupled with the increased number of soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan not only suffering from PTSD, but a growing suicide rate. 

This is not to say there is a positive link between being repeatedly deployed and committing suicide, but soldiers with PTSD are more likely to commit suicide. The Army is attempting solve these issues in a number of ways: 

  • By eliminating stop-loss and offering bonuses for soldiers to stay deployed instead;
  • Drawing down in Iraq next year; and
  • Developing a soldier fitness program designed to aid soldiers in strengthening their mental health. 

Despite these measures, some say the only way to solve the problem is to drastically increase the size of the Army and that is just not a viable solution at this point in time.