Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What are the VA's treatments for veterans with PTSD?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the main treatment for PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy includes Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy. These forms of therapy have proven to have positive effects on veterans witPTSD.

Cognitive Processing Therapy aims to change how a patient perceives the trauma they experienced. It also aims to help the patient comprehend how they may bring stress onto themselves and, as a result, make their condition worse. Veterans should be able to effectively deal with feelings of anger, guilt, and being afraid following cognitive therapy (VA 2014). 

It is common that we associate bad memories with being afraid, being fearful, and angry. However,  Prolonged Exposure Therapy aims to desensitize veterans of their bad memories. By talking about those memories and what types of feelings they evoke, veterans are able to gain better control of their feelings, thoughts, and actions (VA 2014). 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is being implemented for treatment of PTSD, as well. This involves the patient tracking the movement of the therapist's hand or foot with their eyes. The therapist may tap their hand or foot, while the patient recalls their traumatic memories. This allows the patient to openly talk about what they went through or witnessed while focusing on something else (VA 2014). 

In addition, pharmacology is commonly used in treating PTSD. Different medications have proven to be effective in helping people cope with their PTSD and various symptoms that they experience. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are classified as an antidepressant, are commonly prescribed (VA 2014). 

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