The Defense Ministry will unveil on Thursday an innovative format for identifying and treating post-traumatic stress disorder among IDF soldiers.
A team was created to established the format three years ago, led by Zeev Waisman and Dr. Dan Dolfin of the ministry's rehabilitation department. There are believed to be 2,500 Israelis who suffer from PTSD - or in military jargon "shell shock" - due to traumatic experiences incurred during their military service.
PTSD is a condition that involves anxiety and sometimes intense fear which can develop from exposure to a terrifying event.
Following the Second Lebanon War, as an example, military psychologists held talks with all combat units that fought in Lebanon. During the talks, the psychologists searched for signs of PTSD among the soldiers. Those showing signs were taken aside for additional treatment.
"Studies have shown that PTSD is a condition that should be treated earlier than later," a defense official explained. Waisman's team traveled to other countries - including the United States - to learn how other militaries treat PTSD.
According to the new model, that will be unveiled at a conference in Ramat Efal, soldiers discovered with PTSD will be treated according to a set psychological and medical format.
"A soldier who comes out of battle will immediately be evaluated and we will see what type of treatment he needs," Waisman said. "Nothing is done today in a regulated fashion and we want all treatment to be according to a protocol."
The process begins by inserting the soldier's profile into the system which will then offer several courses for treatment that could include medicines, psychological therapy, family therapy, sex therapy and others. Waisman said that the Ministry of Defense hoped to convince other organizations to adopt the new format which will be evaluated in two years.
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