Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Veterans

Background and Significance of the Problem

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a clinical condition with symptoms resulting from exposure to trauma and can cause significant distress and social impairment to the individuals (Gilsanz, Winning, & Koenen, 2017). Patients with PTSD normally display persistent experience of the traumatic events, avoidance of stimuli, increased arousal, and general responsiveness among others. Ideally, in earlier years, when veterans came back exhibiting psychological difficulties and problems adjusting to the home environment, the condition was usually referred to as shell shock or combat fatigue. Today, with the help of advanced medical research, the issues are recognized as a distinct medical condition called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the condition can be experienced by people from all walks of life, it has taken a significant toll on a majority of war veterans who are now using VA health care services among others. Realistically, as Fullwood (2015) notes posttraumatic stress disorder is often concurrent with other devastating medical conditions. Such medical issues include mental illness, chronic physical pain due to physical trauma, combat injuries, or routine military exercises are often prevalent among veterans coming back home. Other medical conditions that are likely to arise because of posttraumatic stress disorder include long-term cognitive impairments, violent offending, offending behavior, alcohol abuse, and broken families. Female veterans exposed to military sexual trauma are also likely to be diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance, and alcohol abuse. Consequently, Miles, Harik, & Hundt (2017) assert that posttraumatic stress disorder may also end up limiting the function-ability of or an individual and restricting their participation in some activities.

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Problem Statement and Purpose of Study

In response to the growing number of military veterans coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq among other war-torn countries, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs came up with an agreement to provide a spectrum of programs to screen, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate veterans who are at a risk of PTSD. In this context, this proposal is set against a background of veterans returning home with posttraumatic stress disorder, a healthcare sector that is not trained or experienced enough to handle such cases, and its impact on the health of veterans. In light of this, a broad overview will focus on the type of treatment options available for veterans with PTSD and the success rate of each program or treatment methods set forth. More precisely, the research includes an evaluation of how care is provided, the recipient, and how effective the management options are towards the individuals. Ideally, to address the effectiveness of treatment options comprehensively, the study will consider the evaluation of literature materials to establish the relationship between PTSD and mental health service utilization. In addition to the above and as a part of the recommendations; the study will also identify gaps in further prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of veterans with the posttraumatic stress disorder and what can be done to ensure the healthcare professionals are knowledgeable and skilled to attend to PTSD veterans.

Research Question

The proposed study is designed to address the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans, and a medical professional that lacks in knowledge and skills to handle these individuals. In this context, we have identified a number of specific areas that should be addressed in the problem statement and purpose of the study. More specifically, healthcare professionals in primary care are usually the first to come into contact with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders and their families. One suggested way, of identifying veterans with PTSD is including in the initial patient assessment a question whether the individual has served in the armed forces. From there, it becomes easy to screen for posttraumatic stress disorders and its associates. However, the ultimate research questions remain, are the medical professional knowledgeable and skilled enough to address post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans? Are the treatment and management options available helping veterans to combat PTSD? What should be done to ensure people who experience PTSD are effectively treated and do not suffer a relapse? Lastly, what should be done to ensure the health professionals are well prepared in response to the increasing needs of veterans with PTSD?

Hypothesis: Research and Null

With the continuing withdrawal of troops from military operations, the veteran demographic is coming back home. Along with their return, comes together increased demand for medical services to address the increasing number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder due to their exposure to trauma (Reisman, 2016). Similarly, their return comes at a time when the healthcare sector is changing struggling with medical professionals who are not able to take care of the increasing chronic conditions. In this case, the null hypothesis for the study is that the number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder is significantly high, but healthcare professionals are not trained or experienced enough to handle these individuals, and this greatly affects the health status of the individual veterans with PTSD.

Study Variables

The central argument of the research proposal represents the abstraction of the research activities and the understanding of the research outcomes. At a conceptual level, military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder pose a population of patients, who for a long time medical scholars have not examined ways to identify their problems and help them with their PTSD. The objective of the study focuses on the increasing number of veterans with PTSD alongside healthcare professionals who lack knowledge and skills in diagnosing, treatment, and management of PTSD among veterans. Further, the study also focuses on the impact of the current situation within the healthcare sector on the veterans with PTSD. In this case, the independent review variable is lack of knowledge and skills among healthcare professionals. The dependent variable is the impact of lack of trained and qualified health professionals to help military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Operationalizing Variables

The research hypothesis asserts that the number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders has significantly increased. However, the healthcare professionals are not trained or experienced enough to handle these individuals, in which this significantly affects the health status of the individual veterans with PTSD. In this case, veterans represent the people who have served at least for one day in the armed forces. The healthcare professionals will consider the United States healthcare professionals, their level of knowledge and skills in handling veterans with PTSD. The impact represents ways in which lack of knowledge affects the administration of diagnosis, treatment, management, and rehabilitation of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. A broad overview of the outcomes will focus on the impact of lack of knowledge and skills among healthcare in order to develop relevant recommendations of the necessary steps that should be taken to fix the problem.

References

Fullwood, D. (2015). Understanding and managing the health needs of veterans. Nursing Standard, 30(10), 37-43.

Gilsanz, P., Winning, A., Koenen, K. C., Roberts, A. L., Sumner, J. A., Chen, Q., . . . Kubzansky, L. D. (2017). Post-traumatic stress disorder symptom duration and remission in relation to cardiovascular disease risk among a large cohort of women. Psychological Medicine, 47(8), 1370-1378.

Miles, S. R., Harik, J. M., Hundt, N. E., Mignogna, J., Pastorek, N. J., Thompson, K. E., Freshour, J. S., … McDonald, S. (2017). Delivery of mental health treatment to combat veterans with psychiatric diagnoses and TBI histories. Plos One, 12(9), 1-14.

Reisman, M. (2016). PTSD treatment for veterans: What’s working, what’s new, and what’s next. P and T, 41(10), 623-634.

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