Men and women who have served in the Military, are a greater risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than the general population. According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 30% of Vietnam Veterans and between 10-20% of Gulf War and OEF/OIF Veterans experience symptoms of PTSD. Symptoms include reliving the traumatic event (through nightmares or flashbacks), irritability and anger, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from people or activities that normally bring pleasure, or feeling "jumpy" and startle easily.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one might be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, please consider being evaluated by a professional. The PTSD Program at Stratton VA Medical Center is an excellent resource, providing both an assessment and on-going treatment for Veterans and their caregivers. You will need to be enrolled at the VA. If you are not already a patient, click here for enrollment information. If you already have a primary care provider at the VA, the process to obtain an assessment and receive treatment is outlined below:
1) Contact your primary care provider, mental health provider, or call the Stratton VA PTSD Program directly at (518) 626-5436. Explain your concerns, providing as much information as possible, including the symptoms you are experiencing, how long you have had these problems, are they increasing in frequency or intensity, and do they impact your daily living. Request a PTSD consultation.
2) The PTSD Program Intake Coordinator will review the information provided at time of referral. Staff from the Albany VA Behavioral Health Careline will call you to set up an appointment for an intake appointment/screening evaluation. Typically, appointments are scheduled within two weeks.
3) Typically, the scheduling staff will make multiple efforts to contact you once a referral has been made. Sometimes, people struggling with PTSD think that they will get better on their own or they don't want to think about their trauma. Its not uncommon for people with a mental illness to avoid getting the care that they need but help is available and treatment really does work. To learn more, click here.
4) If you are experiencing too much anxiety, not sleeping, have concerns about your safety and cannot wait the two weeks, you can go to either the Behavioral Health walk-in clinic (10th floor) or the Emergency Room at Stratton VA. The Walk-in clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3 pm. You should expect to wait a few hours and its best to get there early in the day.
Most importantly, if you are having thoughts of suicide at any time, you can call the VA Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.
There are several phone numbers for Behavioral Health Programs at the Stratton VA: (518) 626-5339, 5340, 5342, or 5386. For more information about the Stratton VA PTSD Program, or to contact the program directly, please call (518) 626-5436.
Are you or someone you care about experiencing problems with sleeping, eating, increased drug or alcohol use, anxiety or depression? Are you having difficulty coping with combat related trauma, reintegration or relationships? The Veterans Crisis Line has a new feature, the Veterans Self-Check Quiz, that can help you gain a better understanding of how stress or trauma is affecting you or your loved one. The check list takes about 10 minutes and a trained counselor will review your responses and provide options for follow-up that may be helpful. They are also available to engage in an anonymous, on-line chat if you have any questions or want to further discuss your options. Only a doctor or mental health professional can diagnose Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental health issues. However, if you or a loved one are experiencing problems that affect your daily living, this checklist can help you better understand your experiences and feelings, and connect you with a helping professional.