Veterans Look to Alternative PTSD Treatment
Many veterans suffer from PTSD, but when it comes to treating them for this condition, the answer isn’t always simple and straightforward. For some, conventional therapies don’t work, so a lot of veterans, and the experts who treat them, are looking into alternative PTSD treatment options that might provide better results. Keep reading to see what we mean.
Current Conventional Treatment Options
According to Social Work Today, there are three main treatment types that are often used for veterans who are suffering from PTSD, and those are:
- Trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (this could include things like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, mixed cognitive behavioral therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy)
- Stress inoculation techniques
- Pharmacological therapy
Although these treatment options might be well-known and used often, there are more options available than ever before. And, that’s important because these therapies don’t always work, or are not always enough for all veterans. Alternative therapies might be used in conjunction with these conventional treatments in order to boost the positive effects and help veterans more effectively overcome their PTSD.
It’s also important to recognize that not every veteran who has been diagnosed with PTSD will have the same symptoms or needs, so a one-size-fits-all approach is not really the best way to go for treating all of them. This is yet another reason why alternative PTSD treatment is worth looking into.
More People Are Considering Alternative PTSD Treatment
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are, on an increasing basis, turning to alternative – and sometimes experimental – remedies in order to help to cope with their symptoms and overcome some of the challenges that they entail.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, these alternatives are sometimes used on their own and are sometimes used in combination with traditional medicines or with prescription drugs. They range from acupressure, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga to hyperbaric oxygen treatments and even marijuana.
Other alternative PTSD treatment options might also include the following:
- Relaxation therapy
- Guided imagery
- Tai chi
Yoga and meditation, in particular, can be really helpful when it comes to alternative PTSD treatment. Yoga can help stretch out your body and reduce pain, so if you are suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, and sleep issues, yoga might help relax and balance the body. Then, adding in meditation, such as a guided practice based on mindfulness, can further help improve your sleep and relax your nervous system, allowing you to heal from the trauma that you experienced.
What’s the Research into Alternative PTSD Treatment?
The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs are both currently conducting research into various forms of “complementary and alternative medicine” options, such as acupuncture, to help the rapidly growing number of veterans who are seeking care to be able to receive the assistance that they require.
In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has already spent over $65 million on various research projects that are being conducted across the country in approximately 40 different cities. These studies are aimed at discovering whether or not current medical practices, in combination with certain alternative or traditional methods, can help veterans who are returning home from war.
These alternative treatments may include the use of certain vitamins, meditation interventions, and many other options. Approximately 7 percent of the total amount that was spent in researching these treatments was geared specifically toward post traumatic stress disorder.
The VA has also founded ten Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECCS) across the United States, at which psychologists and doctors are studying additional potential treatments for healing trauma that results from combat. According to rehabilitation psychologist Lisa Brenner, who is also the director of the Denver MIRECC, “We’re trying to kind of look at lots of novel interventions, different ways that we can help people perhaps increase resiliency or cope with stress or deal with suicidal crisis.”
Brenner and her team of researchers are currently studying various forms of alternative treatment for veterans, such as acupuncture, acupressure, and yoga, in the hopes that it might reduce the instance of suicide among troops returning from combat. That said, this research remains in its earliest stages, so there has yet to be adequate positive evidence to be able to make any recommendations regarding specific alternative treatments for these patients. This will take time and careful study, though the hope is that a number of effective options will start to become recognized.
Are You Interested in Alternative PTSD Treatment?
If you are interested in pursuing alternative PTSD treatment, especially if you are a veteran, definitely talk to your doctor about what your options are. You might be surprised by the many paths that you can take towards healing yourself, so definitely don’t hesitate to look into these therapies if conventional treatments aren’t doing enough for you.