Assessment and Training for Veterans
The mental and emotional consequences of war, often referred to as invisible wounds, have a significant impact on veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD in Vietnam veterans is estimated to be between 31% and 36% for men and 17.5% to 27% for women. In comparison, the rates of PTSD in the general population are significantly lower, at 3.6% for men and 9.7% for women (Source: www.ptsd.va.gov; www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/
Furthermore, a study conducted by RAND Corporation found that approximately 15% to 20% (1 in 5) of veterans who served in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from PTSD and/or depression (Source: www.rand.org).
These statistics emphasize the alarming prevalence of mental health issues among veterans and highlight the urgent need for support and resources to address these challenges. Additional supporting documentation on this topic can be found at the National Center for PTSD website (www.ptsd.va.gov).
The mental and emotional consequences of war, known as invisible wounds, have a significant impact on combat veterans. According to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2010, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression in these veterans ranges from 9% to 36%. This statistic highlights the widespread nature of these mental health issues among those who have served in combat. For more information, the study can be accessed on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
The Defense Logistics Agency, responsible for providing supplies to the military, spent a substantial amount on psychiatric and pain medications between 2001 and 2009. This included $1.1 billion, with a significant increase in the use of antipsychotics (200%), anxiolytics (170%), and anticonvulsants (70%).
The mental and emotional consequences of war, often referred to as invisible wounds, have a significant impact on veterans. According to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 44% of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who sought treatment at VA medical facilities were diagnosed with one or more mental disorders. Of these, 29% were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 16% with depression. Additionally, it was found that approximately 1 in 6 service members takes psychiatric medication.
These statistics highlight the prevalence and severity of mental health issues among veterans. For more information, the sources for this data can be found on the Army Times website (www.armytimes.com) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report on VA health care utilization among Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn veterans from FY2002 to FY2012.
Here are some key trends related to military suicide rates:
1. Between 2001 and 2006, military suicide rates doubled.
2. From 2004 to 2008, there was an 80% increase in suicides among Army personnel.
3. In 2012, there was a 22% increase in suicides among Army personnel, with higher-ranking enlisted soldiers (such as sergeants) experiencing higher rates compared to junior enlisted soldiers.
4. Currently, an average of 20 veterans die by suicide every day.
For more detailed information, please refer to the sources mentioned: www.va.gov/opa/docs/Suicide-
Despite the availability of empirically validated treatments for veterans and a growing awareness of their needs, significant challenges still persist. The following questions arise in light of this:
1. Why do these problems continue to exist on such a large scale?
2. What factors contribute to the current assessments and treatments being insufficient?
It is important to address these questions in order to better understand and tackle the existing challenges faced by veterans.
What is the AES System?
The AES System is a comprehensive guide designed to support veterans in their transition from the warzone to civilian life. It aims to help them feel more at home again by providing valuable information and effective solutions to the challenges they may face after deployment. The AES App, which is a part of this system, offers a modular approach, presenting various topics related to reintegration and providing guidance on skill development and problem-solving. It also encourages readers to reflect by offering journaling opportunities.
The AES App is suitable for both independent use by post-deployment military personnel and those who are participating in individual or group therapy. It goes beyond text-based content and includes audio-visual materials that can assist with sleep, relaxation, and other relevant topics. Some of the key areas covered in the app include managing stress and anger, understanding the risks associated with alcohol, and addressing sleep issues.
Overall, the AES System and its accompanying app serve as a valuable resource to support veterans in their journey towards a fulfilling and successful post-military life.
In addition to the AES Assessment, we have created additional assessments that can be utilized alongside it. One of these assessments is the Predictor of Long-Term Success in Addiction Recovery (PLSAR), which is specifically designed for individuals who are currently dealing with substance abuse or are in any stage of recovery.
The PLSAR assessment is a comprehensive tool that evaluates various aspects of addiction recovery. It is built on decades of empirical research and incorporates evidence-based practices and insights. By utilizing the PLSAR assessment, individuals can gain a better understanding of their current situation and make informed decisions regarding their recovery journey.
The AES app was created based on valuable input and feedback from military members, primarily Army soldiers from Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, as well as veterans and their loved ones. The inspiration for the app came from a Vietnam-era Navy Seal who recognized the need for resources specifically tailored to this generation of veterans, which were lacking after the Vietnam War. The app is designed to be user-friendly, with language that is not overly psychological and materials written to resonate with soldiers. Additionally, a printed version of AES has been utilized in the Patriot Support Programs at various Universal Health Services facilities and hospitals.
Topics Covered in The AES App
•Hypervigilance/Inability to Relax
•Conflict with Others
•Always Being Armed
•Alcohol and other drug use
In addition to AES, there is a digital guide available for clinicians that delves deeper into the different aspects covered by AES.
The Clinician’s Guide offers comprehensive resources for clinicians who wish to incorporate the program into their therapy sessions with active-duty service members and veterans. It provides guidance on how to address post-deployment issues through individual therapy or group therapy using AES.
Part I of the guide focuses on theory and includes chapters that provide information on behavior, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), emotions, stress, addiction, substance abuse after deployment, military families, and communication.