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Monday, November 11, 2013

PTSD Treated With Prescription Narcotics

Veterans Day, a time for remembrance and gratitude for those who have served the United States, particularly those who served in foreign conflict(s). It is impossible to fully comprehend the soldiers experience and the toll it takes on them, both mentally and physically. Every year, thousands of Veterans fail to receive the care they require; those who are treated are often only prescribed prescription narcotics to treat their psychological ailments.

In fact, Veterans with PTSD are about twice as likely to be prescribed opioids as those without mental health problems, according to a study by Veterans Affairs. Researchers determined that PTSD patients are more likely to get more than one opioid and the highest dose.

VA records indicate that about 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving care from the VA have PTSD and more than half suffer chronic pain. Veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain are at a high risk of even more life problems; many specialists have found that proper treatment techniques with PTSD can actually reduce chronic pain without having to drown it out with opioids.

Prescription narcotics and PTSD is a bad mixture, often leading to suicides, overdoses, and addiction. More than 50,000 veterans were treated by the VA in the last year for opioid use problems, a figure that is almost double from 10 years earlier, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Andrew Kowal, one of the developers of the clinical guidelines for pain management at the VA, said the number of troops “retiring out of the Army on narcotics chronically is just absolutely unbelievable.”

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