(DGIwire) – While funding for veteran programs has increased from about $2.4 billion in fiscal 2008 to nearly $7 billion for fiscal 2016, according to the Veterans Association (VA), more work needs to be done to address the health issues faced by those who have served their country and are now facing delays in care—as vividly illustrated in a CNN investigation performed in 2014.
One of the most serious issues veterans face is sleep disorders. According to information published on the website of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, service members generally get less sleep than their civilian counterparts, and adding to this concern is the impact of deployment—often, repeated deployment—and exposure to trauma and injury that has been well documented over the years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the most common complaint on post-deployment surveys of service members returning from deployment is related to the quality or quantity of sleep.
Most nights when Anthony Klecker, a former U.S. Marine, finally slept, he found himself back on the battlefields of Iraq. He would awaken in a panic and struggle futilely to return to sleep. This and additional information from a July 2008 article spotlighting Klecker in The New York Times, shows how seriously lack of sleep can damage the already fragile psyche of returning soldiers.
In addition to the problem of sleep is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, between 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, for example, have PTSD in a given year. According to a recent article in Science News, these two problems—PTSD and sleep difficulties—often go together; according to the article, 70 percent of civilian patients and 90 percent of combat veterans with PTSD just can’t get a decent night’s sleep. Additionally, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes on its website that trouble sleeping and nightmares are two common symptoms of PTSD.
Those who were in the military and think they may be affected by PTSD should consider speaking to their doctor about the latest clinical research study involving an investigational new drug as a treatment for PTSD, the AtEase Study. To protect the subjects’ identities and confidential medical information, the study organizers have obtained a Certificate of Confidentiality from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to ensure their identities are shielded from all persons not connected with this clinical research project.
To see if they pre-qualify to participate in this research study, they can access the study website, AtEaseStudy.com, and learn more about it. The AtEase study is open to veterans or those currently serving in law enforcement, the Armed Forces or as a military contractor. Those serving in the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service and Border Patrol are also eligible for this research study.
Currently there are no satisfactory approved drug treatments for military-related PTSD. The investigational new drug used in the AtEase study represents a new approach to treating the condition. While symptoms of PTSD may improve or worsen while taking part in this study, participation will provide information about the study drug, a new approach to treating PTSD, that might benefit others with the condition in the future.