New Tool Promises to Help Detect Veterans at High Risk of Violence

01 Jun 2014

A number of recent shooting incidents involving veterans, who went on a rampage, has shocked the US military. Now researchers have developed a tool that will help doctors identify veterans who may be at a much higher risk of such violent acts.

The tool is called the Violence Screening and Assessment of Needs. Basically, the tool is in the form of a questionnaire. The questionnaire will ask veterans questions about their combat experience, financial situation, history of substance abuse or drug abuse, history of violence, history of criminal activity, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the researchers, very often, violent acts committed by veterans are immediately traced to post-traumatic stress disorder without bothering to understand whether there are any other underlying psychological problems, that could have triggered these violent tendencies. Post-traumatic stress disorder definitely contributes to anger management issues involving veterans, but it is not the only factor. There are a number of other factors that also need to be looked at, and this tool will help doctors identify whether the service member is at risk of other factors, like alcohol abuse, substance abuse, or a history of criminal activity or violent behavior that places him at a high risk of committing violent acts.

Based on the answers that are provided, the tool will rate veterans on a scale of 0 to 5. Zero indicates the lowest risk and five will indicate the highest amount of risk. According to the researchers, doctors using this tool will be able to identify veterans, who may be at a high risk of violence, and will be able to introduce intervention strategies to help these veterans integrate successfully into the community.