In a moving round-table discussion hosted by Stand for the Troops (“SFTT”), Maj. Ben Richards provides a devastating overview of why the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”) is failing to provide adequate care to brave Veterans suffering from PTSD. Let Ben explain why in his own words:
Why is it necessary, for VA spokespersons like Dr. Xavier Cifu to articulate banal nonsense to Congress that seeks to provide better treatment for our Veterans? More to the point, why don’t those in authority within the VA simply acknowledge that “we don’t have the answers,” rather than persevere supporting treatment therapies that simply don’t work and may, in fact, be harmful?
Everyone realizes that egos and big money are on the line, but shouldn’t the well-being of our men and women in uniform and Veterans come first?
SFTT has long been partnering with several alternative treatment therapies designed to provide Veterans with options. Sadly, most of these protocols are not endorsed or supported by the VA. We long ago concluded that the entrenched bureaucracy within the VA appears to be far more interested in promoting its own path to wellness rather than acknowledge that other alternative therapies may provide benefits.
As Maj. Richards points out, the recommended VA treatment protocols do not work and those in VA’s management know that they are ineffective. Therefore, it seems evident that Congress and others must look beyond the VA to provide Veterans with PTSD therapy alternatives.
There is a growing awareness around the country that the VA is simply out of step with reality and several states are taking matters into their own hands to provide privately funded therapy programs. In particular, Maj. Richards is able to avail himself of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in his home state of Minnesota.
Also, it was recently reported that a Joint study by Tel Aviv University, IDF, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and National Institutes of Health finds computerized training before deployment could prevent PTSD.
In fact, Dr. Yuval Neria, a Special Advisor to SFTT’s Medical Task Force, explains that computerized training protocols may help patients cope with PTSD more effectively.
Biased Threat Attention Computerized Training Protocols
Dr. Yuval Neria, Professor of Medical Psychology at the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, and Director of Trauma and PTSD at the New York State Psychiatric Institute presents his Attention-Bias-Modification Treatment (ABMT) designed to implicitly modify a PTSD patients’ biased threat attention via computerized training protocols.
SFTT helped fund these experimental studies by Dr. Yuval Neria. In the video above, he describes in scientific terms some promising breakthroughs on computerized training protocols to assist both Veterans and civilians cope with PTSD.
While I guess we should take some solace in the fact that Veteran suicides have now fallen on a daily basis from 22 to 20, the fact remains that we have tens of thousands of Veterans who are receiving inadequate treatment. The suicide of one Veteran is too many, so let’s hope that the Department of Veterans Affairs wakes up to the challenge rather than disparage other treatment alternatives.