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Soldiers with traumatic brain injuries need long-term care

Staff Report • Sep 12, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Last month, President Obama announced a comprehensive national plan to better diagnose and treat veterans for post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and other mental health issues. The hope is earlier treatment of these illnesses might reduce an alarming rise in suicides among current and former military personnel.Officials with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say they have made great strides in improving the care the department provides to veterans with a traumatic brain injury. Even so, the Pentagon still has a lot of work to do in this regard.Veterans applying for federal disability benefits receive ratings based on their diagnosed, service-related problems and the resulting projected loss in workplace earnings. Just a few years ago, the VA’s list of ailments and injuries did not include TBI, which has become a prevalent wound in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Failure to properly diagnose soldiers with TBI deprives them of counseling for PTSD. While TBI impacts both short- and long-term memory, it can also trigger depression, which is one of the symptoms of PTSD.Procedures must be put into place now to properly diagnose veterans who suffer from TBI and provide the long-term care they have earned. Doing so would allow the people of this nation to make good on promises to support the troops.

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