Tags: alternative | treatments | ptsd | veterans

6 Alternative Treatments for Veterans With PTSD

By    |   Wednesday, 17 January 2018 10:07 AM

Traditional approaches to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for veterans involve psychotherapy or medication, but many vets find these methods unsuccessful and are turning to alternative treatments.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health programs offer alternative techniques with conventional therapies while many non-profit organizations throughout the country have seen improvement in vets through alternative measures.

Research has shown that alternative approaches can help PTSD vets deal with and relieve symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even pain.

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These six alternative treatments are showing increased popularity for veterans with PTSD:

1. Acupuncture — A 2014 study of 55 service members concluded that acupuncture “was effective for reducing PTSD symptoms.” Patients using acupuncture with traditional treatment “showed significantly greater improvements” over patients who had usual care only, the Healthcare Medicine Institute reported. Acupuncture appears to be a safe treatment to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, the researchers noted.

2. Yoga and meditation — These practices have been used in the military and at VA medical centers, according to Social Work Today. Yoga helps to relieve pain and bring comfort throughout the body. Yoga and meditation need to fit the needs of patients who have experienced trauma, including the creation of a safe space to provide relaxation for an overactive nervous system.

3. Service dogs — Bonding with animals provides benefits for veterans with PTSD. A program under Warrior Canine Connection has vets with the disorder training service dogs for fellow vets afflicted with physical injuries. It provides veterans with companionship but also results in stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, and improved relationships.

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4. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) — A self-healing method, it combines cognitive therapy and exposure therapy, which exposes patients to anxiety sources without causing any danger, with acupressure on points throughout the body. One controlled trial found more than 85 percent of veterans with PTSD had no obvious symptoms after six sessions of EFT, according to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.

5. Swimming with sea creatures — Dolphin swims are enjoyable for the population at large, but they are also used as alternative treatments for vets with PTSD. At the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, veterans swim with whale sharks and are accompanied by dive masters in a huge tank, The New York Times reported. The sharks get their name from their immense size and mainly eat plankton. The quiet underwater environment helps vets forget bad memories.

6. Outdoor therapies — Horseback riding, hiking, and rafting are among activities that can help vets overcome symptoms of PTSD. The Rites of Passage Ranch Long Term Care Program in Washington state combines cognitive behavioral therapy with relaxation exercises, physical activity, and healthy food.

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Traditional approaches to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for veterans involve psychotherapy or medication, but many vets find these methods unsuccessful and are turning to alternative treatments.
alternative, treatments, ptsd, veterans
469
2018-07-17
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 10:07 AM
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