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The “Postdeployment Multi-Symptom Disorder”
Walker, Robyn L.; Clark, Michael E.; Sanders, Steven H.
Many veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom have incurred blast related injuries during deployment. One of the most common blast related injuries is mild traumatic brain injury, with the long-term consequences known as postconcussive Syndrome (PCS). Because of frequent combat related injuries and lengthy deployments, many OEF/OIF returnees also report ongoing pain problems and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A substantial percentage of these returning service members present to Department of Veterans Affairs facilities with multiple comorbid symptoms of PCS, pain, and PTSD, which we have termed “Postdeployment Multi-Symptom Disorder.” Despite the recent clinical literature suggesting that this clinical triad of symptoms appears to be a common phenomenon that may be resistant to current treatments, there has been no guidance toward how to best manage these problems. This article introduces the conceptualization of this new “disorder” comprised of the clinical triad of PCS, pain, and PTSD symptoms, and proposes an integrated treatment model based on the current empirically supported treatments for each of these conditions.