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Complex Contribution of Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to Veteran Suicide: Facing an Increasing Challenge


  • Elizabeth A. D. Lee MSN

    Corresponding author
    1. Elizabeth A. D. Lee, MSN, is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, College of Graduate Health Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.
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  • Conflict of Interest Statement

  • The author reports no actual or potential conflicts of interest. No external or intramural funding was received.

  • Disclaimer: The article is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the opinion of the US Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

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PURPOSE:  The purpose of this case study is to present the complex contribution of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to suicide and international standards of treatment among veterans deployed to the Middle East.

CONCLUSIONS:  PTSD carries increased physical and psychological health risk in combat soldiers. Internationally, guidelines for PTSD promote cognitive behavior therapies, specifically exposure therapy, as first line treatment; however, implementation varies among countries.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:  Evidence supports the benefit of exposure-based psychotherapy for combat-related PTSD. Commonly prescribed antidepressants and other psychotherapy treatments may not be as beneficial.