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PTSD and TBI at the VISN 20 MIRECC

PTSD and TBI Research at NW MIRECC

The Veterans Affairs' Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon conducts Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Research that afflict VeteransAs part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Integrated Service Network 20 (VISN 20), the Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (NW MIRECC) improves the health and well-being of Veterans by developing, evaluating, and disseminating novel and effective treatments for military posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its complex comorbidities.

The most prominent of these comorbidities is repetitive blast mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI); others are alcohol use disorder (AUD), chronic pain (in particular, post-concussive headaches), cognitive impairment, and increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders (chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE] and Alzheimer’s disease [AD]).

VA is the world's leading research and educational center of excellence on PTSD and traumatic stress.

PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event.

If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.

Participate in research: Research studies at NW MIRECC are currently enrolling Military Veterans, First Responders, Health Care workers, and Civilians in Seattle, Washington. Veterans who have experienced a variety of service-related conditions, including;

➤ Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

➤ Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), which is also called a concussion

➤ Headaches or other conditions that might start after an mTBI or concussion

➤ Gulf War Illness

➤ Dementia and neurodegeneration, including mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

➤ Drug abuse and dependence

➤ Stresses related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic

Whether you are currently on Active-Duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, a Veteran, or someone who has never worn the uniform, you can participate in NW MIRECC research in Seattle, Washington.

The knowledge produced by NW MIRECC research efforts is disseminated through web-based and face-to-face educational offerings nationwide and directly implemented in our specialty clinics throughout the Northwest. This collaborative approach to mental health has had a profound impact on the lives of Veterans. 

Learn through MIRECC Presents and enhance your skills and understanding of mental health issues affecting Veterans. The webinars for MIRECC Presents are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month from October to June, between Noon and 1 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (3-4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

VA ranks as one of the nation's leaders in health research. These research studies have significantly contributed to advancements in our understanding of medical problems that have led to health improvements for Veterans and civilians alike. Most notably, staff at the NW MIRECC pioneered the use of the blood pressure medication prazosin to treat trauma-related nightmares, one of the most common symptoms of military PTSD. Due in part to our educational outreach efforts, this medication is now prescribed to over 100,000 Veterans and active-duty Servicemembers, and we continue to investigate its usefulness for other psychiatric conditions that are common in Veterans.

At the NW MIRECC, we continue to strive to improve the health and well-being of the U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans. For more information, please call or visit us in Seattle, Washington and/or Portland, Oregon.

    Explore Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center       


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The Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (NW MIRECC) of the Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN) 20 seeks to improve the mental health and well-being of Veterans through research and dissemination of information to providers both within the VA and the general public. The NW MIRECC mission is to contribute to better treatment of the unseen wounds of war (PTSD, mild traumatic brain injury, and their comorbidities). The VA VISN 20 Northwest Health Network consists of four states across three time zones; Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. The primary research center located in VA Puget Sound Health Care System is affiliated with the University of Washington. VA Puget Sound serves Veterans from a five-state area in the Pacific Northwest with two main divisions: American Lake and Seattle. In addition to the main medical centers, VA Puget Sound provides health care services in Washington state at six community-based outpatient clinics in Bellevue, Bremerton, Federal Way, Mount Vernon, Port Angeles, and Seattle. The research center located at VA Portland Heath Care System is affiliated with the Oregon Health and Science University. VA Portland serves Veterans from Oregon and Southwest Washington with two main divisions: Portland and Vancouver. In addition to the main medical centers, VA Portland Health Care System provides health care services in Oregon state at ten outpatient clinics in Bend, Fairview, Hillsboro, North Coast (Camp Rilea), Newport, Lincoln City, Portland, Salem, The Dalles, and West Linn. Vet Centers in the VISN 20 Health Care Network are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families.

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Veterans Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-8255 - If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, dial 911. If you are having thoughts of suicide, dial 1-800-273-8255, then press 1 at the prompt to reach the Veterans Crisis Line