In Recognition of National PTSD Awareness Month: Collaborative Care as a Treatment Solution
May 24, 2023
June is National PTSD Awareness Month, established to increase awareness of posttraumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD. The National Center for PTSD estimates that 6% of the population, or approximately 12 million Americans, will experience PTSD at some point in their lives (Schnurr, n.d.). This number is even higher among veterans, where the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is estimated to be as high as 23% (Schnurr, n.d.), second only to the prevalence among first responders, which is estimated to be as high as 30% (Luster, 2022). The most common cause of PTSD is directly experiencing or witnessing abuse or a violent event. Women may be more likely to experience such types of events, however, the symptoms are equally problematic for anyone with the diagnosis.
PTSD is characterized by the presence of intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s) (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares), marked alterations in reactivity associated with the event(s) (e.g., hypervigilance, increased anxiety and worrying about a subsequent event), and persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the event(s) (e.g., places or situations that might serve as reminders of the event) (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). These symptoms can significantly impact an individual’s daily functioning, ability to form and maintain relationships, and capacity to participate in activities. Unfortunately, many individuals who experience these symptoms do not receive treatment.
Most patients with PTSD are identified or seek care from their primary care provider (PCP), oftentimes for symptoms of anxiety or difficulty sleeping. Furthermore, many of these patients do not receive a referral or do not follow up with community mental health providers. The ability to provide patients experiencing PTSD with evidence-based behavioral health treatment alongside their PCP would have a dramatic impact on the number of patients who could experience symptom relief. Collaborative Care, an evidence-based model to identify and treat patients with behavioral health conditions in primary care, could be a useful resource for PCPs seeking to improve the lives of their patients with PTSD.
Concert Health is proud to partner with more than 1,000 providers each month to provide Collaborative Care to patients in need, many of whom are experiencing PTSD. The strength of Collaborative Care is its treat-to-target, symptom-based approach, which provides patients with a significant reduction in symptoms within the first few months of care. For patients experiencing PTSD, this can dramatically change their daily experience and provide a sense of empowerment. Patients who may want and/or need additional specialty care are more likely to attend specialty mental health and remain in care following a successful treatment experience with Collaborative Care (Goodrich et al., 2013).
In recognition of National PTSD Awareness Month, Concert Health joins the national effort to raise awareness of PTSD and encourages those affected to seek care.
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787
Goodrich, D. E., Kilbourne, A. M., Nord, K. M., & Bauer, M. S. (2013). Mental health collaborative care and its role in primary care settings. Current Psychiatry Reports, 15(8), 383. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-013-0383-2
Luster, R. (2022, September 9). First responders and mental health: When heroes need rescuing. Psychiatric Times. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/first-responders-and-mental-health-when-heroes-need-rescuing
Schnurr, P. P. (n.d.). Epidemiology and impact of PTSD. National Center for PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp