Many veterans are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Massage therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms and effects of PTSD, and many massage therapists engage in outreach to this population. New research shows U.S. veterans are not getting the mental-health treatment recommended for their PTSD.

More than 230,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans sought treatment for the first time at VA health care facilities nationwide between 2002 and 2008. More than 20 percent of these veterans, almost 50,000, received a new PTSD diagnosis.

Treatments that have been shown to be effective for PTSD typically require 10-12 weekly sessions. The VA recommends mental-health counseling; fewer than 10 percent of those Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with newly diagnosed PTSD complete this recommended dose of PTSD treatment. When the timeframe was expanded to a year rather than four months, fewer than thirty percent of the veterans completed the recommended course of treatment.

The study showed that there are groups of veterans that are less likely to receive adequate care than others, such as male veterans (compared to female veterans), veterans under twenty-five years old, veterans who received their PTSD diagnoses from primary care clinics (requiring referral to a mental health program), and veterans living in rural areas.

The study is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress.


Related article: High Rate of PTSD Among U.S. Veterans