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The Importance of Mental Health Care for Veterans

Veterans are five times more likely to have depression and 15 times more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the civilian population. Yet many veterans don’t get the mental health care services they need. 

Veterans who fail to get needed treatment for their mental health issues often struggle with employment, relationships, and homelessness. When they do seek care, they may get it from mental health professionals who don’t have experience working with veterans or who aren’t veterans themselves. 

As a former US Army First Lieutenant who served during the Gulf War Era and was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, Judy E. Vansiea, DNP, MA, MS, APRN, NPP, at Coping Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry Services in Uniondale, New York, knows first hand how important it is for veterans of all generations to receive mental health services. 

We pride ourselves on offering expert and compassionate care to veterans who are struggling with a variety of mental health issues. 

In honor of Veterans Day, here’s what we want you to know about the importance of mental health services for veterans. 

Veterans and mental health issues 

The percentage of veterans diagnosed with many mental health disorders is higher than that of the population as a whole. Veterans generally have higher rates of:

Failing to get needed mental health care for any of these issues can have fatal consequences. 

Studies have even found that veterans with conditions like Bipolar disorder, psychosis, and depression have increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Importance of getting treatment  

While it’s easy to dismiss many of these mental health disorders as side effects of being in active duty, they should never be ignored. 

Getting high-quality mental health care from a provider like Dr. Vansiea, who has specific expertise in veteran’s issues, can mean controlling symptoms and maintaining a better recovery for your mental health disorders.

Working with a provider who has knowledge of what you experienced while in active duty can relieve some of the anxiety you may have about getting mental health treatment. We understand what you’ve been through, and we’re here to help. 

The important thing is that you do get the help you need. Doing so can improve your physical health, relationships, employment opportunities, and overall quality of life. Dr. Vansiea provides a holistic approach to treatment.

The type of mental health treatment you need depends on your specific diagnosis, symptoms, and general health, but we offer the two most common and successful methods of mental health treatment.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is key to recovery from a mental health disorder. Through individual therapy sessions, you learn to recognize the triggers for your symptoms, develop healthier ways to cope, and create healthier patterns in relationships. 

We use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based treatment that helps you identify unhealthy beliefs and understand how they influence your behaviors. During your sessions, you learn to replace your negative habits and thoughts with healthier ones. 

While it might not be easy to open up at first, talking to a provider about the trauma you experienced while in combat, as well as any resulting anxiety and depression, is the first step in your recovery. Once you build a rapport with us, you’ll find it easier to talk through your issues and find a way to heal.

Medication management

In some cases, therapy alone isn’t enough to help relieve your symptoms. Medication is often needed to alleviate your symptoms so you can function in your daily life and focus on working through your issues in therapy. 

We don’t automatically turn to medication to help, but we may determine you could benefit after a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, a review of your records, labs, and any necessary diagnostic testing. 

Depending on your needs, you may be prescribed antidepressants, anti anxiety medications, antipsychotics, or stimulants. Also, keeping in mind that control substances are not the first medication option for treatment because it increases your risk for an addiction.

If you’re prescribed medication, we start with the lowest possible dose and monitor your reaction to the medication throughout your treatment. We want to make sure that medication complements your therapy sessions and doesn’t interfere with your recovery. 

Get the care you deserve today

When you put your life on the line for our country, you deserve to be taken care of when you’re no longer on active duty. That includes taking care of your mental health.

We appreciate everything veterans have done, and we’re here to improve your life for the better. For compassionate treatment from a mental health provider who has been in your shoes, please contact Dr. Vansiea because she can help.

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