PTSD

Charles Krupa / AP Photo

When a traumatic event happens, some people find ways to cope while others get caught in the grip of post-traumatic stress disorder. A new study led by a Seattle researcher and enabled by an unexpected disaster suggests a way we might be able to predict who’s most likely to struggle.

Derek Gunnlaugson / Flickr

Letting patients with post-traumatic stress disorder choose how they want to be treated can produce better outcomes for less money, according to a new study co-written by a University of Washington psychologist.

Treating someone with PTSD often comes down to a question of whether they get counseling or pharmaceuticals. The new study offers some evidence about which one works better, but even stronger evidence that letting the patient make the choice produces the best outcomes for the least cost.

Prof. Lori Zoellner, director of UW’s Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress, said letting patients decide helps them get the treatment best suited for them, and also increases their buy-in to whichever option they go with.

"You're probably more likely to take your medication regularly, to attend your psychiatrist visits more regularly. And in psychotherapy, you may also be more likely to do the homework," she said.

Editor’s Note: This is the last installment in a three-part series exploring the benefits of service dogs for combat veterans. Reporter Samantha Wright began working on this series three years ago. The previous two parts are posted online (read part 1 / read part 2).

In the three years since Awescar entered Dan Sperry’s life, a lot has changed.

Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a three-part series exploring the benefits of service dogs for combat veterans. Reporter Samantha Wright began working on this series three years ago. The first installment ran on Friday, and the last story will follow on Sunday.

A veteran of the Persian Gulf War, Dan Sperry came home with headaches, panic attacks, and flashbacks of the war.

Living with PTSD: 'I completely lose control'

May 31, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a three-part series exploring the benefits of service dogs for combat veterans. Reporter Samantha Wright began working on this series three years ago. The next two parts will run on Saturday and Sunday.

Dan Sperry sits in the backyard of his home in Meridian, Idaho, sipping lemonade. But he doesn’t sit very long; Sperry is constantly on the move. He fidgets. And he might suddenly spring up form his chair and disappear into the house.

“I just stay home. I avoid society all together, which now I’ve gotten to a point where I hardly even return phone calls. I don’t go out. I don’t go anywhere by myself,” he said.

Two Vietnam veterans are celebrating a milestone in Seattle today: They’re the first graduates of a special treatment court set up for veterans.

SALEM, Ore. – In Salem , a former Army staff sergeant named Jarrid Starks has run out of the medications that keep him stable. He has severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental and physical wounds of war. But he’s currently not eligible for veterans’ health benefits that would include prescription refills. That’s because Starks was kicked out of the Army for bad behavior. He’s far from alone.

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – Washington Senator Patty Murray has introduced legislation to overhaul the mental health system for war veterans. The move comes in the wake of a scandal at Washington’s Madigan Army Hospital. Doctors there incorrectly told dozens of soldiers they didn’t suffer from PTSD. One of those soldiers was Richard Kellar.

Richard Kellar has entered year six of his fight to regain his life after getting blown up in Iraq. Doctors had to re-attach his nose. He has a Traumatic Brain Injury. And then there are the emotional wounds of war. Flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia.

The Army is investigating whether the cost of care and benefits is influencing the diagnosis of soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder at Madigan Army Medical Center.

United States Marine Corps

Officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are hopeful they're making progress against the stigma that keeps some soldiers from getting help for mental health issues.