2024 reminds us that the Veterans Administration continues off-course by avoiding actual brain wound healing while pumping more $$$$ into research, “Mental Health,” and achieving a new normal. Meanwhile, the suicide rate continues upward.
ProPublica reports “How the VA Fails Veterans on Mental Health.” In what has become an almost annual body count, investigative reporters analyzed 313 studies conducted by the VA’s inspector general in recent years showing how repeated failures in behavioral care in the VA continue to lead to suicides.
“The problems appear to be systemic. Over and over, the hospitals and clinics in the VA’s sprawling health care network have fallen short when it comes to treating people with mental illness. . . . In the most extreme cases, facilities lost track of veterans or failed to prevent suicides under their own roofs.”
Given the rise in the suicide rate among Veterans, the report veers into complicity when it states: “The system has notable strengths. The VA has played an important role in developing treatments for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, and provides critical training opportunities for psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers nationwide.”
Combat Veterans constantly report to TreatNOW that they’re treated like “guines pigs” by a constantly shifting and sketchy string of care providers. The ProPublica reporting indicates a severe breakdown in the VA’s basic understanding of the physiology of brain wounds, repeating year after year that “mental health” is the issue. Recall that in too many cases the VA continues to insist on PTSD diagnoses for combat veterans without proof of brain damage.
And recruitment for understaffed medical professionals is for the Mental Health disciplines, not for a rethinking of how to properly diagnose and heal brain wounds. Physical healing has to replace psychology as the focus of standard of care for TBI.
And consider: The VA runs a number of War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers (WRIISC). This national program is dedicated to Veterans’ post-deployment health concerns and unique health care needs. They “develop and provide post-deployment health expertise to Veterans and their health care providers through clinical care, research, education, and risk communication. The WRIISC is part of VA’s newly designated Health Outcomes Military Exposures (HOME) formerly Post Deployment Health Services (PDHS). The VA is uniquely qualified to care for Veterans with health concerns related to potentially toxic exposures.”
These Centers are allegedly the Gold Standard for delivering the world’s best care for “the #1 clinical priority” in DOD and the VA: suicide prevention. But the protocols, research, and culture are opposed to even mentioning Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as even a consideration, let alone providing the treatment. At a minimum, they might consider putting some intellectual firepower behind a proper Phase 3 clinical trial to answer the outstanding questions about maximizing the efficacy of HBOT for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome.
Days ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued an intention to study the use of certain psychedelic compounds in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The substances to be studied include psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin and Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) when used in conjunction with psychotherapy to treat Veterans with PTSD and depression. This continues the VA’s penchant to study “mental health” problems rather than solving them. As always, they revert to their inadequate interventions:
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Prolonged Exposure (PE) or Trauma-Focused Psychotherapy
Adding yet more symptom-reduction chemicals and computer-based coping tools to the mix continues to avoid proper diagnosis and brain wound healing, particularly in the cases of combat veterans.
Here’s the primer the VA needs to memorize. While this is not taught in medical schools, worldwide science supports these conclusions:
- TBI/Concussion/BLAST cause brain wounds.
- The pathophysiology of brain wounds includes a concussion cascade, a penumbra of damage that can lead to cell death and a host of behavioral, cognitive, memory and emotional problems. It is increasingly clear that CTE can be a result of this damage.
- Interrupting that cascade can halt and reverse the damage cause by inflammation, hypoxia, necrotic cell death, blood-brain barrier breakdown, and numerous other well-documented effects of brain wounding.
- Only by focusing on wound healing can a patient get on the path back to total body health, and a chance of pain- and drug-free living.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a proven, FDA on-label available intervention that reduces inflammation, leads to biogenesis, neurogenesis, angiogenesis, neuroplasticity, proliferation of stem cells, pain reduction, halts suicidal ideation, and allows patients to get off death-inducing drugs.
- Polytrauma — a condition of multiple traumas endured by a patient — is a complex of injuries typically suffered in BLAST injuries. [Just read the multitude of injuries and symptoms suffered in friendly fire: here, here, here and here.]
- Every Veteran with diagnosed or suspected brain wounds needs to be told that HBOT can help heal their wounds.
- And while the VA is waking up to the truth about healing vs. palliating, they should be required, under the mandate of “informed consent” to use HBOT for Diabetic Foot Ulcers.
- There are over 100,000 Veteran suicides since 9/11, and over 876,000 Veteran deaths attributable to lower limb amputations. The VA must be held accountable for using EVERY means available to stop the carnage.
The TreatNOW Mission is ending service member suicides. Along the way, we have learned that we can end suicidal ideation, help end symptoms of PTSD, and heal brain wounds to end the effects of BLAST injury, mild TBI Persistent Post Concussive Syndrome, and polytrauma. www.treatnow.org
Heal Brains. Stop Suicides. Restore Lives. TreatNOW
Information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.