US Army PTSD treatment: heaven and hell

BBC News and The New York Times have just each published articles on the US Army’s treatment of psychologically traumatised soldiers so different that you’d think they were talking about entirely distinct programmes.

Two articles have just appeared on the BBC website giving a very positive view of the US military’s treatment of Army veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems.

The articles largely focus on the programme at Fort Hood and despite some peculiarities (it mentions treatment includes acupuncture, reiki, sound therapy and seemingly chakra-based meditation) the picture is of a small but promising approach to treating psychologically disabled soldiers.

In contrast, The New York Times presents a damning picture of the treatment programme in which the service is poorly organised, where prescription and illicit drug abuse is rife and where clinicians rely largely on large doses of medication to manage soldiers’ symptoms.

It’s hard to know what to make of the articles, as the BBC seem to have made no effort to ask any difficult questions, while the NYT article seems to be largely based on interviews of soldiers who felt they were poorly dealt with, while the Army’s own surveys discussed in the piece suggest most are happy with the services.

The stuff about New Age treatments is just a bit odd. Is this where the First Earth Battalion have got to these days?

UPDATE: Thanks to PsychFun for pointing out they are, in fact, two distinct programmes! (Grabbed from the comments)

The WTU talked about in the NYT article is a military unit for wounded soldiers, many of whom have PTSD. The BBC article is talking about a 3 week intensive PTSD treatment program, as your own link shows. Darn those confusing US Army acronyms!

Link 1 and Link 2 to BBC News articles.
Link to New York Times article.

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 27, 2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    so different that you’d think they were talking about entirely distinct programmes.
    Er…well, that’s because they are two entirely different programs. The WTU (http://www.aw2.army.mil/about/transition.html) talked about in the NYT article is a military unit for wounded soldiers, many of whom have PTSD. The BBC article is talking about a 3 week intensive PTSD treatment program, as your own link shows. Darn those confusing US Army acronyms!
    -Funpsych

    http://psychiatryfun.blogspot.com/

  2. Posted April 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I guess the message is that chakra
    meditation works better than drugs. :)

  3. Retired Soldier
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Retired Soldier
    Been to the 3 week program. Did wonders for me and changed my life. Acupuncture is in no way new age but based on centuries of practice. Joe Chang has put more needles into veterans with PTSD than any other person and his results are amazing. With just one needle racing thoughts would leave my head. The treatment is great but they need more places like the RESET program.


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