As discussed in the previous post, thousands of soldiers have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Many of these vets also suffer from brain injuries, depression, chronic pain and other issues. These other issues exacerbate the PTSD and vice versa.
While individual therapy has been shown to cure about 40 percent of vets with PTSD who successfully complete the treatment, that leaves 60 percent still uncured after treatment. Many vets drop out of individual therapy because they do not want to talk about their experiences directly.
On the other hand, group therapy relieves some of that pressure as people in the group do not have to talk. The groups focused on mind-body medicine also usually focus more on the present moment rather than the past. The classes introduce the vets to a number of techniques that they can then use on their own to relieve their PTSD symptoms. These techniques, such as yoga breathing exercises and meditation exercises can help a vet to focus on the present moment and to concentrate on how to react in that moment to the given situation in front of them.
Some veterans are reluctant to get help for their PTSD because of the stigma that can be tied to mental health issues. In order to help dispel the stigma, the military has created videos of vets talking about their PTSD and treatment so that vets can see that many people just like them also suffer from PTSD and they, too, can get help. Some vets may also need to apply for disability benefits if their PTSD is preventing them from redeploying or working.
Source: The New York Times, "For Veterans, a Surge of New Treatments for Trauma," Tina Rosenberg, Sept. 26, 2012
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