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<< The Depressed Patient And Suicidal Patient In The Emergency Department: Evidence-Based Management And Treatment Strategies

Special Populations

Military Veterans

With the recent military engagement in the Middle East and beyond, there has been a growing interest
in the effects of traumatic events and incidence of psychiatric complications such as PTSD, depression,
and suicide.98,99 Numerous emergency facilities within the Veterans Administration medical system
have noted an increased rates of depressive symptoms among returning military veterans.100 The ramifications for the emergency clinician are broad, whether or not one practices in a military-affiliated hospital. As with many other mental disorders, the downstream effects of Axis I conditions such as MDD, suicide, and PTSD affect not just the patient but family, friends, and other contacts. Care must be taken to inquire about the patient’s adjustment back to civilian life and to pursue further questioning/workup when concerning history is elicited. When evaluating recent military veterans, a high degree of concern should be maintained to ensure that such patients have adequate social and professional support in place. This may be done in conjunction with social work services in the ED or with the patient’s primary care team. There has been a surge of interest in this area, but there are multiple unanswered questions: from the actual disease burden noted in military groups to the possible differential vulnerability of veterans based on age, military experience, gender, or race. It is incumbent upon emergency clinicians in both military and civilian EDs to be aware of this potential association and remain vigilant in these patients to ensure they receive appropriate evaluations and support.

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Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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