The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense updated their guideline for screening veterans for suicide risk. The new guideline includes recommendations for ketamine infusions to treat suicidal ideation and major depressive disorder in veterans.
"In patients with the presence of suicidal ideation and major depressive disorder, we suggest offering ketamine infusion as an adjunctive treatment for short-term reduction in suicidal ideation,” the guideline states.
The guideline addresses the rising rate of suicide among veterans. From 2005 to 2015, the veteran suicide rate increased by 25%. Twenty veterans commit suicide daily. And veterans have a 21% higher risk of suicide compared to peers of the same age and sex.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a significant cause behind veteran suicide. According to the VA, PTSD affects roughly 31% of Vietnam veterans, 10% of Gulf War veterans, and 11% of the war in Afghanistan veterans. PTSD symptoms include anxiety and depression, guilt, shame, personality changes, and self-destructive behaviors. Many suffering from PTSD take their own lives.
Dr. Covington has specialized training in treating trauma which makes her work with both ketamine assisted pyshcotherapy and working with trauma a powerful combination to help with PTSD.
First responders experience high degrees of workplace stress. Traumatic calls, poor sleep quality, long shifts, lack of downtime after difficult calls. For these reasons First Responders are at high risk for burnout, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicide.
Research in first responders such as police officers, firefighters, and EMS providers indicates an alarmingly high career prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts. In fact, one study revealed 15.5% of firefighters had attempted suicide at least once during their career.
Dr. Covington has worked with first responders and understands the unique demands and critical stressors that those who choose these career paths may endure. Relief is available, we can help.