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Treatment that reduces PTSD should be allowed to be used by more veterans: lawmaker

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U.S. Rep. Scott Perry said he is on a crusade to pass legislation that provides millions of veterans access to a longstanding chronic pain treatment that has helped to improve the quality of life in military members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“For many veterans with PTSD, they suffer from anxiety that they can’t shut off in their head long enough to have other treatments that are made available to them,” the Pennsylvania Republican said in a phone interview. “We haven’t been able to get the VA to get this treatment to be a primary source of treatment.”

The Treatment and Relief through Emerging and Accessible Therapy PTSD Act would direct the Veterans Affairs secretary to expand access to stellate ganglion block, or SGB, therapy to all veterans when diagnosed with PTSD by making it a covered treatment under federal law, according to Perry. He introduced the TREAT PTSD Act earlier this year but it hasn’t gained much traction since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.


“If it passes, then your local VA would offer it as a primary care option,” Perry said. “Then a veteran wouldn’t have to try to fail a battery of other treatments. They could go right to SGB if they felt it was an appropriate treatment and work through the rest of the treatments, like therapy, in conjunction with it.”


Today is National PTSD Awareness Day. It’s recognized annually on June 27 as a way to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental-health disorder that might develop after a person has been exposed to one or more traumatic events.


The urgency behind passing the bill is the link between PTSD and suicides, Perry said. Up to 20 veterans a day commit suicide.

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