Pick the Long or Short Form, But Take the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Screening

Here’s how VA explains PTSD:  Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that happens to you, like:

  • Combat exposure
  • Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Terrorist attack
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Serious accidents, like a car wreck
  • Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake

During a traumatic event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening around you. Most people have some stress-related reactions after a traumatic event; but, not everyone gets PTSD. If your reactions don’t go away over time and they disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.  Read more here.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also put together a PTSD screening online which has 17 questions on problems and complaints that veterans sometimes have in response to stressful military experiences. All references are to stressful military experience.  Click here to read each question carefully, then select the answer that indicates how much you have been bothered by that problem in the past month.

I don’t think I’m going bonkers but I took the screening anyway.  The portal says that no information is collected, stored or sent over the Internet. To ensure complete privacy, exit your web browser after completing the screening.

See the text-only version.

Results between 0 and 20 indicate few or no symptoms of PTSD. Results between 21 and 29 indicate minimal symptoms of PTSD. Results between 30 and 85 indicate many of the symptoms of PTSD.   The PTSD Screening is, however, careful to explain that it is not designed to provide a comprehensive assessment or diagnosis of PTSD:

“Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can provide a complete assessment and diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health professional can differentiate symptoms of PTSD from other medical conditions. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can prescribe appropriate treatment for PTSD or other medical conditions.”

The State Department has its own  Four Question PTSD Screener and says, “If you have answered “yes” to three (3) items or more it is considered “positive” and your screening results are consistent with symptoms of PTSD.  Also that if the screening results suggested the need for further assessment/evaluation, to check out the following resources:

  • Visit a primary or mental health care provider.
  • If you are not sure about benefits or don’t have a primary care manager:
    Contact the Employee Consultation Service at MEDECS@state.gov or Call 202-663-1815.
  • Contact the Deployment Stress Management Program at MEDDSMP@state.gov or Call 202-663-1903.
  • Contact MHN Support Services are available through web, phone, and in-person.
    Internet: https://members.mhn.com/ company code: ‘unaccompanied tour’.
    Phone: Call toll free, 24/7 at 1-800-213-5811

As you can see, we tried that company code and it’s a dud.

Domani Spero


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