What treatments are there to assist in the rehabilitation of veterans?
Happy Veteran’s Day! According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, about 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in the Iraq war have been diagnosed with PTSD.
This is the most effective treatment for PTSD, based on evidence. It focuses on the veteran’s memories of the event that particularly affects the survivor. Various techniques are used to help process the memory in a safe place, such as: talk therapy, visualization, and thinking about the event. Some sessions involve visualizing, talking, or framing the traumatic memory in a new way. Generally, 8 to 16 sessions are needed.
Prolonged exposure (PE) helps the patient gain control of negative feelings.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) helps to turn negative thought patterns into less threatening ones using tools, such as writing assignments, to eradicate stress.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps the patient reprocess trauma while focusing on objects moving back and forth.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have shown promise in treating PTSD symptoms. Four antidepressant medications for treating PTSD include sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine.
A large study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Early, Discontinuation of pharmacotherapy in US veterans diagnosed with PTSD and the role of psychotherapy, found that despite over half of US veterans being prescribed medication for PTSD symptoms, patients cease treatment shortly thereafter. The study underscores the need for psychotherapy to encourage adherence to PTSD pharmacotherapy. Given that the early dropout rate is high, it is crucial for providers to discuss early with their clients the potential risk and protective factors associated with treatment discontinuation.”
Source: National Center for PTSD. PTSD Treatment Basics.