Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Lifetime DSM-5 Psychiatric Disorders among Veterans

"In this study, the highest levels of comorbidity (six or more comorbid conditions) among veterans were observed among treatment seekers. However, only those with comorbid DUD [Drug Use Disorders] were significantly more likely to seek treatment for PTSD once potentially confounding factors were accounted for. It is of concern that, in the present sample, 32% of veterans with PTSD who did not seek treatment had 6+ comorbid conditions. The 14.8% increase in completion of at least one PTSD treatment visit between 2005 and 2010, compared with 12.6% from 1997–2005 among veterans seen in the VA healthcare system (Hermes et al., 2012), is encouraging. Similarly, Mott et al., (Mott et al., 2014) recently reported an increase in psychotherapy utilization among veterans across three time points (FY 2004, 21%; FY 2007, 22%; and FY 2010, 27%). Although most of these increases were seen in those with anxiety and depression, those with PTSD had the highest rate of initiation and number of psychotherapy sessions. Nevertheless, the persistently low rates of help seeking, despite the availability of empirically supported psychotherapies and pharmacotherapies that can prevent psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, from becoming chronic (Bryant et al., 2003; Katon et al. 1996; Simon et al., 2004) is cause for concern. Although treatment may be available, it may not be accessible to all veterans who need it due to lack of proximity to these services (Lazar, 2014). Taken together these results call for efforts to understand low rates of help seeking and use the knowledge gained to increase uptake by veterans with PTSD who could benefit from these interventions wherever they present."


Smith, Sharon M., Rise B. Goldstein, and Bridget F. Grant. “The Association Between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Lifetime DSM-5 Psychiatric Disorders among Veterans: Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (NESARC-III).” Journal of psychiatric research 82 (2016): 16–22.