While concerns about the psychological effects of war are not new, only recently has systematic attention been paid to such problems among past and present military personnel. There is increasing recognition that mental health has serious implications for operational performance, retention, and compensation. Although little controlled research exists with this population, preliminary evidence suggests that psychological treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder may be beneficial, albeit less so than for civilian populations. This article reviews evidence for each of several psychological treatment stages: stabilization and engagement, psychoeducation, symptom management, prolonged exposure, cognitive restructuring, and relapse prevention, with particular reference to the clinical issues raised by military personnel. Possible explanations for reduced treatment effects in this population compared with civilians are discussed.

IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2012. Treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military and veteran populations: Initial assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.