Weighing the Costs:Integrative PTSD Programs for Veterans

Acupuncture Today
May, 2009, Vol. 10, Issue 05 : By Joe C. Chang, MAOM, Dipl. OM, LAc

Acute combat-induced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder diagnosed in 24 percent of injured combat veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.2 Onset of PTSD directly relates to multiple and lengthy combat-related deployments and trauma.5 Approximately one in six soldiers shows signs of PTSD on leaving Iraq and Afghanistan. Symptoms of PTSD include re-experiencing, avoidance behaviors, numbing responsivity and hyperarousal, as well as anxiety and insomnia. Unresolved PTSD becomes chronic and symptoms may continue for life.1 Advocates for the integrated approach in the treatment of PTSD at both Ft. Hood (El Paso, Texas) and Ft. Bliss (Killeen, Texas) were convinced that the traditional methods of treating PTSD weren’t long enough in duration, intense enough or comprehensive enough. A program was created that would address all aspects of PTSD and treat the whole soldier. This integrative approach treats many of the symptoms of PTSD that are not addressed through the standard mental health protocols, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy. The concept eventually led to the implementation of the Ft. Bliss Restoration & Resilience Center and the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program at Ft. Hood that incorporated medical massage, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, marital/family therapy and reiki with the standard treatment protocols of cognitive-behavioral and cathartic psychotherapies and pharmacotherapy.



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