Posted on Dec 27, 2016

Many of the veterans our office represents suffer from mental disabilities such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can make obtaining and maintaining gainful employment impossible and lead to an Individual Unemployability rating from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

According to the National Center for PTSD, about 8% of the average population will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives, while the estimated percentage of veterans with PTSD ranges from approximately 15% to 30%.

There are many types of treatment for PTSD available, from talk therapy to yoga, and now researchers from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Public Health and College of Medicine at Texas A&M University are working on “an intelligent information system,” or an “app” informally, that they say has the potential to save millions of lives. That is not a stretch considering the widely reported number of veterans, 22, who take their own lives each day in the United States.

There have already been PTSD “apps” introduced that aim to soothe PTSD “arousal” symptoms, which Texas A&M says cause veterans “to constantly be on the look-out for any signs of danger and can lead to outbursts of anger or irritability, or flashbacks to a traumatic moment.” Suffering daily from such symptoms can make all facets of life, from interacting with loved ones to working, extremely difficult.

The new “intelligent information system” being developed by Texas A&M, however, is different in that the app continually collects data that is sent to the veteran’s doctor.

“User engagement is a general limitation of current remote health technologies including current PTSD apps,” Dr. Farzan Sasangohar, an assistant professor in industrial and systems engineering, recently told the Texas A&M website. “They do not provide a closed loop, so no information is being sent to the clinician. The new system the research group is developing will be able to passively collect continuous information on a patient’s well-being and send it to their clinician.”

The new system will use wearable tech to “identify episodes of non-normal activities” such as irregular heart rates to engage veterans with PTSD in relaxation techniques, connect them with clinicians and even route them to emergency outreach systems.

Any work being done to expand the resources available to veterans with anxiety disorders is welcome news to our office, as we hear every day how difficult it is just to wait on disability benefits while suffering from PTSD. If you need help appealing an unfavorable VA disability decision from your Regional Office or the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, or want more information on resources for veterans with PTSD, call the office of Attorney Sean Kendall today at 877-629-1712.