PTSD comes at an incredibly high cost – and quite often, a high monetary cost as well. Some estimates suggest that for combat veterans alone, post-traumatic stress disorder costs the United States billions of dollars each year in lost time, treatment and economic loss. On a personal level, successful treatment of PTSD can also come at a high price, as individuals battle a series of symptoms during their intense response to the traumatic event. For those who have experienced multiple traumatic events, untangling the responses to trauma can prove all the more challenging, often necessitating more intensive treatment.
Factors Involved in PTSD Treatment Costs
Because PTSD describes a set of symptoms that can range from high anxiety to occupational difficulties, successful treatment of PTSD is often holistic in nature. Because of this, PTSD sufferers may require more than one type of therapy in order to fully heal. While much has been made of the success of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in treatment of PTSD, there simply is no magic bullet for the disorder. Many individuals require ongoing therapy, career counseling (due to a high rate of job loss and cognitive function after traumatic events take place), along with relationship or family therapy that is often needed in order to foster interactions with loved ones in the wake of psychological changes. The cost of medication for depression, anxiety and phobias also factors into the overall cost of treatment for survivors. In some cases, physical therapy may also be necessary in order to fully recover from the traumatic events. For those who attempt to self-medicate PTSD symptoms, the additional cost of drug or alcohol addiction treatment can also become a liability.
Ways to Cover PTSD Treatment Costs
Depending on the nature of the traumatic event itself, PTSD costs can be covered in a variety of ways. From privatized health insurance to subsidized government plans, many options for treatment have become available. Here are a few of the ways that PTSD survivors can find help in covering the cost of treatment for their disorder.
- Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance often will include mental health coverage, allowing for a certain number of visits per year to qualified therapists. In some cases, therapists will not accept private health insurance, so be sure to select someone within your approved health care network. In other cases, a diagnosis of PTSD may allow for more – or even longer – sessions to be approved. Each insurance company will have varying rules on the requirements to make a diagnosis of PTSD, so be sure to ask your insurance company what services it covers. Privatized health insurance can also be useful in paying for psychiatric medications, such as anxiety medication or antidepressants.
- Government Programs
Sometimes, statewide or federal programs for trauma survivors can help foot part or all of your PTSD recovery bill. Victims of Crime programs or Witness services often set aside money for those who have been the victim of violent crimes, so long as they make a police report. Other relief funds for victims of natural disasters exist and can be located by calling your local or state social services office.
- State-Funded Health Care
State-funded health care programs often cover PTSD treatment services. Generally offered through a variety of benefits, PTSD services can range from therapy to medication – and even sometimes cover alternative therapies. If you are a participant in state-funded health care for low-income individuals, and find that the services you need are not covered, be sure to ask your case worker whether or not there are other benefits that might augment your care to a more comprehensive level. Often state-funded health care workers can also point you towards private or government programs that can act as gap-stopping measures in your treatment funding.
- Private Foundations
In some cases, private foundations will offer financial assistance to victims of particular traumas. Performing an online search for these charities can be useful as many offer funding programs or available scholarships for treatment. Nonprofit organizations will often offer care free-of-charge as well, in the form of free mental health clinics, addiction counseling, trauma counseling and occupational assistance.
- Sliding Scale Fees
Some therapists will offer sliding scale fees for those who cannot afford mental health services. Sometimes, the reduction in fee can be anywhere from 20 to 80 percent, depending on the therapist’s policies. Most therapists will ask you to state – or in some cases, document – your income in order to receive a sliding scale rate