Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common issue for veterans who have lived through a deployment in a war-zone, and it can cause significant psychological damage when not properly treated. Veterans with PTSD are at a higher risk of developing addictions, having marital and other family problems, and experiencing employment difficulties. There are several programs and treatment methods available through Veteran’s Affairs (VA) programs, public clinics, and private health care facilities to help veterans with PTSD. Some of the most common treatment methods include one-on-one therapy, group therapy, and prescription medications.
Those who live in an area with VA medical center can often get help through the facility. As long as the veterans served active duty, including those who were Reservists sent to a combat zone, and were not dishonorably discharged, they are eligible for PTSD assistance through the VA. All VA centers have at least one PTSD specialist on staff, and many provide a comprehensive set of programs to help both individuals and their families.
For veterans with PTSD that do not live near a VA facility, help may be available through other community clinics or private facilities. Some areas have walk-in mental health clinics for those who cannot afford private care. Veterans can also often receive referrals from their primary care physician. For those having difficulty finding help, members of a local organization for veterans may be able to offer advice on where to find treatment.
Finding the best course of treatment can be the key to helping veterans with PTSD. One-on-one therapy with a qualified psychologist is a good start. There are several different methods, and each one may be used alone or in conjunction with others. Cognitive therapy, a type of therapy that teaches veterans to think about their condition in a new way, is often helpful. Many veterans with PTSD also find exposure therapy beneficial. In this type of therapy, veterans talk about their experiences repeatedly until they are desensitized to the memories.
Group therapy may also be helpful for veterans with PTSD, as it allows them to connect to others coping with the same situation. Knowing that someone else is feeling the same way can help make veterans feel less alone. Members of the group may be at different levels in their treatment, and those with more experience can help newer patients get through rough spots.
Prescription medications may be used in conjunction with other therapy. These often include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. In severe cases in which veterans with PTSD experience breaks from reality or recurring violent episodes, anti-psychotic medications or hospitalization may be required until the disorder is brought under control through other types of therapy.