3 New Attempts to Help With PTSD: PAWS, Massage and Medical Marijuana

26 Aug 2016

The PAWS Act, aka, Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members is a Bill being introduced by Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer. Studies have proven that animal combined with therapy may result in:

  • reduction of PTSD systems
  • reducing depression
  • less anxiety
  • reduce feelings of isolation
  • better quality of sleep
  • less of a need for medication

Although the Veterans Administration provides dogs for veterans with physical disabilities it does not provide them for veterans with PTSD. One of the requirements for staying in the system is the veteran would have to see a mental health or primary health care provider quarterly at a VA medical facility.

A new Massage Therapy program is being implemented at the Crouse Hospital, the Syracuse VA Medical Center and Upstate University Hospital. The collaboration is being spear-headed by Clear Path for veterans. Their goal is to get them to relax and the one hour sessions seem to be working. If the veterans relax, they sleep, and solid sleep helps those with depression and post traumatic stress disorder get rid of some of their anxiety.

Studies are being conducted with combat veteran volunteers to smoke up to two joints of marijuana a day to determine if this will help relieve systems of PTSD. To begin with the volunteers will have to have been previously diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

There is a two-week assessment and screening in which four different types of marijuana will be introduced. There will also be a placebo substitution introduced at any time during the testing.

Initially, the veterans will be watched for the first four hours after smoking to make sure that nothing adverse happens. At both the beginning and the end of the 12 week testing period there is a physical and extensive physiological assessment, this in addition to regular body monitoring and blood tests.

For more information about PTSD contact us.

Veterans' Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Can Cause Long-Term Problems

18 Aug 2016

A traumatic brain injury (TBIis considered mild if the initial loss of consciousness or disorientation that the injury produced lasted less than 30 minutes. Many people think that severe traumatic brain injuries cause long-lasting effects, while mild traumatic brain injuries cause only temporary effects. Researchers, however, are starting to find that even mild TBI can cause chronic problems.

recent study found that veterans with mild traumatic brain injuries had hormone deficiencies that produced long-lasting effects.

The study, conducted by researchers at Seattle's Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, evaluated a group of veterans who had sustained mild traumatic brain injuries that had been caused by blasts. The study was undertaken because the researchers found that there was little data available about brain injuries and hormone deficiencies that related specifically to military veterans.

The study found that 12 out of 27 of the veterans in the study with mild TBI had hormonal deficiencies, compared to only 1 out of 14 of the veterans in the study's control group, who did not have TBI. The most common hormone deficiency was of growth hormone. Other deficiencies found were secondary adrenal deficiency and hypogonadism.

The researchers concluded that this showed that even mild TBIs can cause physiological changes that result in long-term chronic illness.

Traumatic Brain Injury - Veterans

At Veterans Law Group, we only handle cases for veterans who are seeking maximum benefits for their disability claims. If you or a loved one are impaired because of a service-related traumatic brain injury, please contact us for assistance.


Personality Disorder Claims

11 Aug 2016

Recently, the United States Army and the United States National Institute of Mental Health conducted a large-scale study on the mental health of military members. The majority of the data used for the study was the Army's Study to Assess Risks and Resilience inServicemembers (STARRS) survey of approximately 5,500 active duty soldiers. Out of that number, almost 25% suffered from a mental disorder of some kind and 11% out of that percentage suffered from more than one.

Many military members are subsequently diagnosed with a personality disorder. But personality disorders are not recognized within the VA system as disabilities. Despite this, personality disorders are commonly diagnosed. It is vital that a diagnosis of this type not be accepted without a private evaluation to determine if it truly is a pre-existing condition that is not related to military service. Many times, the personality disorder is actually the manifestation of the initial signs of a psychiatric condition resulting from service.

The process of getting benefits from the VA is often an exhausting and frustrating process. The Veterans Law Group is well-versed in the process and in the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities. We are a team of attorneys, advocates, and veterans that specialize in the claims process and our sole duty is to get disabled veterans the benefits they deserve.

Medical evaluation reports are an important part of a successful claim. The VA has medical professionals working for them, not for the disabled veteran. For many claims, independent medical reports are necessary and the VLG will obtain these for the client. These reports often make all the difference for our clients.

Don't settle for less than what you deserve as a veteran. Contact us today so that we can help you navigate the waters of the VA claims process.


Psychiatric Disability & VA Benefits

04 Aug 2016

recent study found that nearly 25% of all veterans suffer from a mental illness of some kind. In many of these cases, veterans have a psychiatric disability that entitles them to disability benefit payments from the VA. Psychiatric disabilities are presumed to be service-related. Even in cases where a veteran had a pre-existing mental illness, VA benefits are still possible if there was a service-related aggravation of that illness.

The VA only recognizes disabilities that are found in the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities. For mental disorders, this schedule is largely based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). Common illnesses that entitle veterans to benefits include (among others):

  • depression;
  • anxiety or panic attacks;
  • cognitive disorders such as dementia or amnesia;
  • mood disorders;
  • somatic symptom disorders; and
  • eating disorders.

Getting benefits from the VA often requires going through a complicated claim appeal process. This can involve the compilation of employment and personal information, medical evaluations, and even court appearances. Navigating the process and providing the right evidence can be a daunting task, especially for a person suffering from a cognitive or emotional disability. An experienced attorney can help a veteran prove a psychiatric disability by providing the VA with the correct medical evidence and with testimony from a credible evaluating psychiatrist.

At the Veterans Law Group, we are familiar with the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities and we understand what medical evidence is required to get our clients disability compensation. We also carefully seeks out psychiatrists who will provide the best reports for our clients. If you are a veteran suffering from mental illness, but have been denied disability benefits, contact us today for assistance. If you are a family member of a veteran suffering from mental illness, you can find useful resources here.

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