PTSD—A Costly Epidemic in Need of a Solution

War is a significant source of the PTSD epidemic in the U.S. and around the world. As increasing numbers of U.S. soldiers return home with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s our national priority and ethical obligation to develop more effective treatments for PTSD.

Nearly one in seven U.S. service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. 7 In countries with widespread conflict, the frequency of PTSD is often far greater. 8

According to some estimates, a single diagnosis of PTSD can cost up to $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded benefits over a soldier’s lifetime. In 2011, the U.S. Veterans Administration spent about $5.5 billion on PTSD disability payments to approximately 275,000 veterans, with costs and numbers of veterans with PTSD continuing to increase.

A cheaper and more effective solution is urgently needed for former service members suffering from PTSD.

Ongoing Research Focuses on Vets

A currently ongoing Phase 2 pilot study in Charleston, SC, is examining the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in U.S. veterans, firefighters, and police officers with service-related PTSD, including PTSD caused by combat and sexual assault while serving in the military.

Previous studies suggest that war-related PTSD may be more prevalent and harder to cure than PTSD caused by other types of trauma, and this study may help establish the relationship between trauma etiology and treatment efficacy.

Beyond waging the wars we are in, treatment of our wounded, their continuing care, and eventual reintegration into everyday life is my highest priority...I consider this a solemn pact between those who have suffered and the nation that owes them its eternal gratitude.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, October 2009