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“There hasn’t been as much premium placed on tracking than there has been on implementing treatment,” Galea said.

The panel praised the two departments for issuing joint guidelines for managing PTSD, but it’s unknown whether their providers adhere to the guidelines. The panel said that primary care doctors within the VA screen Iraq and Afghanistan veterans annually for symptoms of PTSD, and it recommends that the Defense Department do the same.

The panel said it is hopeful that the departments will make more use of therapy through videoconferences that will allow patients in remote locations to get care.

The panel also called for more research to shed light on the brain’s defense mechanisms for stress, identify factors that can influence the timing and severity of symptoms and identify signs that could help lead to earlier diagnosis and more precise drug treatments.

The report said that the VA treated more than 438,000 veterans for PTSD in 2010, showing evidence of the widespread scope of the problem. Similar numbers are not available for the Defense Department.

Cynthia O. Smith, a DOD spokeswoman, said the department has already taken steps to address some of the issues raised in the report.

“The department recognizes the need for continued improvements,” Smith said.

The VA said it would review the report and noted that it recently announced it was adding 1,600 clinicians and 300 support workers to its mental health staff.

“We have already made strong progress, but we need to do more,” the department said in a written response to the report.