Prevalence Of Ptsd In Veterans
Estimates of PTSD prevalence rates among returning service members vary widely across wars and eras. In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5% of deployed and nondeployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20% to 30%., As many as 500,000 U.S. troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.
It is not clear if PTSD is more common in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than in those of previous conflicts, but the current wars present a unique set of circumstances that contribute heavily to mental health problems. According to Paula P. Schnurr, PhD, Executive Director of the VA National Center for PTSD, the urban-style warfare tactics in Afghanistan and Iraq, marked by guerrilla attacks, roadside improvised explosive devices, and the uncertain distinction between safe zones and battle zones, may trigger more post-traumatic stress in surviving military members than conventional fighting.
In addition, Dr. Schnurr notes, improvements in protective gear and battlefield medicine have greatly increased survivabilitybut at a high price. Between the way were protecting the troops and responding to injuries on the ground, a lot of soldiers are surviving with very significant injuries who would not necessarily have survived before, she says. And theyre returning stateside with both the physical and psychological trauma.
What Can I Expect
To receive medications for PTSD, you will need to meet with a provider who can prescribe these medications to you. Many different types of providers, including your family provider and even some nurses and physician assistants, can prescribe antidepressant medications for PTSD. You and your provider can work together to decide which antidepressant medication may be best for you.
In general, the four different SSRIs and SNRIs listed above appear to work equally well for PTSD. Once you fill your prescription, you will begin taking a pill at regular time each day. It may take a few weeks before you notice the effects of the medication. It is important to continue to take it even if you do not notice changes right away. You will meet with your provider every few months or so. Your provider will monitor your response to the medication and change your dose, if needed.
From Trauma To Treatment
Not everyone who endures trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But if you experience symptoms of PTSD, its important to seek help. For a non-invasive, medication-free treatment option, talk to your doctor about TMS. Because TMS has been FDA-approved to treat depression, it can be especially beneficial for anyone suffering from comorbid PTSD with MDD. Whatever you do, dont waste time. Treatment for PTSD is always within reach.
Help Is Available And Often Needed
For anyone suffering from PTSD symptoms, its important to get help. There have been a high rate of PTSD treatment for veterans that have been successful. It has been even more helpful in civilian situations. Unaddressed PTSD can worsen over time and cause psychological disorders. Substance use disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression often manifest.
Risk Factors For Ptsd In Veterans
A number of factors have been shown to increase the risk of PTSD in the veteran population, including younger age at the time of the trauma, racial minority status, lower socioeconomic status, lower military rank, lower education, higher number of deployments, longer deployments, prior psychological problems, and lack of social support from family, friends, and community . PTSD is also strongly associated with generalized physical and cognitive health symptoms attributed to mild traumatic brain injury .
Comorbidity Of Ptsd In Veterans
Complicating the diagnosis and assessment of PTSD in military veterans are the high rates of psychiatric comorbidity. Depression is the most common comorbidity of PTSD in veterans. Results from a large national survey show that major depressive disorder is nearly three to five times more likely to emerge in those with PTSD than those without PTSD. A large meta-analysis composed of 57 studies, across both military and civilian samples, found an MDD and PTSD comorbidity rate of 52%.
Other common psychiatric comorbidities of PTSD in military veterans include anxiety and substance abuse or dependence. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, conducted in the 1980s, found that 74% of Vietnam veterans with PTSD had a comorbid substance use disorder . In one study of recent veterans, 63% of those who met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders or drug use disorders had co-occurring PTSD, while the PTSD prevalence among those who met criteria for both AUDs and drug use disorders was 76%.
Studies also suggest that veterans with comorbid PTSD and SUD are more difficult and costly to treat than those with either disorder alone because of poorer social functioning, higher rates of suicide attempts, worse treatment adherence, and less improvement during treatment than those without comorbid PTSD.,
Avoidance And Emotional Numbing
Avoidance and emotional numbing The person with PTSD may try to avoid reminders of the event. They may avoid people or places that remind them of what happened. They will have a hard time talking about their experience and try to push the memories out of their mind. This is why many people with PTSD will have co-occurring disorders where they become addicted to substances. Someone with PTSD may emotionally numb themselves by working on not feeling anything.
Ptsd In Combat Veterans
The existence of war-induced psychological trauma likely goes back as far as warfare itself, with one of its first mentions by the Greek historian Herodotus. In writing about the Battle of Marathon in 490 b.c., Herodotus described an Athenian warrior who went permanently blind when the soldier standing next to him was killed, although the blinded soldier himself had not been wounded. Such accounts of psychological symptoms following military trauma are featured in the literature of many early cultures, and it is theorized that ancient soldiers experienced the stresses of war in much the same way as their modern-day counterparts.
The symptoms and syndrome of PTSD became increasingly evident during the American Civil War . Often referred to as the countrys bloodiest conflict, the Civil War saw the first widespread use of rapid-fire rifles, telescopic sights, and other innovations in weaponry that greatly increased destructiveness in battle and left those who survived with a myriad of physical and psychological injuries.
Challenges And Opportunities Ahead
While many important advancements have been made over the past few decades in understanding and treating symptoms of PTSD, the rising number of American veterans who suffer from the disorder continues to be a serious national public health problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely accepted method of treatment for PTSD, but there is clearly an urgent need to identify more effective pharmacological approaches for the management of symptoms, as not all patients will respond adequately to psychotherapy or evidence-based/first-line pharmacotherapy. Further understanding of the underlying physiological and neurological processes will be helpful in developing new and effective therapies to treat PTSD.
Research also suggests further opportunities for the VA and other health care systems to develop new and innovative ways to overcome barriers to treating veterans with PTSD. With veterans and their families increasingly seeking care outside of the VA system, community providers play a key role in helping to address these challenges. It is critical they receive the education, training, and tools to improve their understanding of and skills for addressing the needs of this unique population.
Ptsd Treatment: How To Treat Ptsd In 2021
Trauma recovery is often a slow and challenging process that calls for a lot of work from the survivor and those administering PTSD treatment. Its worth noting that there are diverse treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder . What works for one survivor might not work for another. Various factors, such as the severity of the trauma and the survivors responses to the trauma, can result in varying levels of effectiveness in PTSD treatment. In this article, well elaborate on what PTSD is and what the various PTSD treatments are.
How Do Health Care Professionals Assess Ptsd
For individuals who may be wondering if they should seek evaluation for PTSD by their medical or mental health professional, self-tests may be useful. The National Institute of Mental Health offers a self-test for PTSD. The assessment of PTSD can be difficult for practitioners to make since sufferers often come to the professional’s office complaining of symptoms other than associated with a traumatic experience. Those symptoms tend to include body symptoms , , or drug addiction. Studies of Iraq war veterans indicate that these individuals tend to show more physical symptoms of PTSD as opposed to describing the associated emotional problems.
Many people with PTSD may present with a history of making attempts. In addition to depression and substance-use disorders, the diagnosis of PTSD often co-occurs with bipolar disorder , eating disorders, and other disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder , panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
What Is The Prognosis For Ptsd
A number of factors improve the prognosis for people with PTSD. They include personal attributes like above-average cognitive abilities, high self-esteem and optimism, interpersonal abilities like good social skills, problem solving, and impulse control, and external factors like secure attachment, sense of safety, and environmental stability.
If My Child Is Diagnosed With Ptsd What Happens Next
Your childs mental health clinician will explain the diagnosis and answer any questions you or your child may have. The next step is developing a mutually agreed-upon treatment plan that works for you, your child, and your family. The plan may include one or more of the following therapies:
- psychotherapy for the child
- psychotherapy for the family
- in some cases, a combination of therapy and medication
Its essential to seek professional treatment for your child as soon as PTSD symptoms emerge. The disorder responds very well to therapies delivered by qualified mental health clinicians, but if left untreated, can cause longstanding emotional distress, relationship problems and academic failures for your child. These difficulties can continue well into adulthood if they are not properly addressed.
Cognition And Mood Ptsd Symptoms
While these symptoms may be associated with an injury, its likely that the weight of the traumatic event is causing them. Cognition and mood symptoms include:
- Difficulty remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
- Distorted emotions
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Negative thoughts and feels about yourself and the world
Cognitive and mood PTSD symptoms are perhaps some of the most devastating. Not only can they make people feel alienated from those around them but they can also lead to other mental health conditions.
Determining If You Have Ptsd
Post-traumatic will usually onset about a month after the event occurred. The symptoms can last for years and cause outward problems in ones life. As the symptoms can be intense and have the potential to last for a long time, someone can lose everything. Social, work, and family relationships will become taxed as the person lives with trauma. They may find it challenging to move forward with normal tasks.
A psychological evaluation will be conducted to find out for sure if a person does have PTSD. The American Psychiatric Association has a specific guideline to determining this disorder. The criteria in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the gauge.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Trauma
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Trauma gets you to look at, and challenge, the unhelpful thoughts and ideas you have developed since the trauma. It slowly helps you to face the painful thoughts, feelings, and situations you have probably been avoiding.
You and your service provider will identify the situations, places, people, and things that you are avoiding because they are triggering they remind you of the traumatic event. You will be asked to think of something that you want to be able to do again, something that is safe but that you have been avoiding because of your trauma. Once your goal is set, you and your service provider will break the activity down into manageable steps.
Starting with the easiest step, you will be asked to practice doing the step until you are able to do it with less distress. When you master that step, you move to the next one, until you have finished all the steps. In this way, you will re-learn that the situation, places, people, and things that were triggering are now safe and manageable.
What is it? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Trauma explores how your thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and physical responses to the trauma are connected. You learn, for example, how changing unhelpful thoughts about the trauma can help change how you react and can support more balanced emotions.
From what we know so far, benefits are greatest when CBT-T is done on an individual basis rather than group.
Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
With EMDR, you might not have to tell your therapist about your experience. Instead, you concentrate on it while you watch or listen to something they’re doing — maybe moving a , flashing a light, or making a sound.
The goal is to be able to think about something positive while you remember your trauma. It takes about 3 months of weekly sessions.
How Does Sgb For Ptsd Work
We cannot conclusively prove the exact mechanism that explains the positive effects of stellate ganglion block for PTSD. However, we certainly have some understanding of it. It is suspected that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is slowed by the effects of the injection.
The sympathetic nervous system is what helps us respond to a threat. It helps elevate our heart rate and the pace of our breathing, and it helps us respond to threatening situations. It is responsible for what is known as the fight-or-flight response. In many people with PTSD, the sympathetic nervous system is overactive. This likely contributes to some PTSD sufferers feeling constantly on guard and prone to exaggerated responses. Such responses can be triggered by loud noises or other situations that may potentially turn dangerous like being in a crowd or somewhere reminiscent of the original traumatic event.
Arousal And Reactivity Ptsd Symptoms
This set of symptoms doesnt usually require a trigger and can happen at any given moment. They include:
- Angry outbursts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling tense or on edge
Ultimately, such symptoms will lead to a stress that the person struggling may not have experienced before. In turn, this stress can complicate various aspects of their day-to-day life.
Ptsd And Marijuana: Heres What Research Says
A study by Dr. George R. Greer in 2014 showed that participants with PTSD reported, on average, a 75% reduction in significant PTSD symptoms while using clinical marijuana.
Dr. Greer reported, Numerous PTSD patients report symptom reduction with cannabis. A clinical preliminary is necessary to see what extent and what sort of PTSD patients benefit, with either cannabis or the fundamental active ingredients of cannabis.
As well as proof from studies, there is also an abundance of recounted confirmation self-reported by people living with PTSD. They say that their lives would be insufferable if it werent for the positive impact that clinical marijuana has on their debilitating condition.
A paper that reviewed five studies of cannabis and PTSD discovered blended results. One of the studies in Israel showed that all of the patients were actively using cannabis. In contrast, the remaining four happened in the United States, with patients who had used cannabis.
Three of these studies might be beneficial to using cannabis, but two discouraged its use. Overall, there has been conflicting information for the use of marijuana for PTSD, and the current proof is limited to case reports, episodic experiences, and observational studies.
Furthermore, there are no controlled and randomized clinical trials, the gold standard for evaluating any drug, looking at patients with PTSD who are using cannabis.
Effective Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy For Survivors
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a serious challenge that occurs for people who survive traumatic events. PTSD is well known as a condition experienced by soldiers who have been subjected to traumatic experiences, but can also develop from any number of causes. Survivors of physical and sexual abuse can experience PTSD, as well as survivors of crime, natural disasters and even fights or car accidents.
While there is no best way of treating PTSD, there are several methods, including EMDR, that can provide significant relief for people who are struggling with the symptoms of their past trauma. While not exactly an exposure therapy for PTSD, EMDR uses a more structured approach to provide a safe and supportive framework for clients to delve back into their traumatic memories and process the pain so that they can experience lasting relief.
Our goal is to help you integrate your PTSD and trauma so that it no longer holds you back but simply becomes another part of your history. Processing trauma provides you with the freedom to live your life without debilitating symptoms.
Common Ptsd Treatments And Medications
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a serious mental illness and needs appropriate treatment. Typically, PTSD patients are treated with medications and therapy or both. People with PTSD may have varying symptoms and treatments may differ accordingly. Usually PTSD patients undergo psychotherapy and are prescribed with antidepressants to manage their emotional outburst of sadness, depression and anger. CBT or cognitive based therapy may also be helpful in treating the condition.
Who Are At Risk
According to NAMI or the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 18 to 22 veterans die because of suiciding each day. But PTSD does not only affect the war veterans or former military members. Anyone can be affected by PTSD including children. People with high PTSD risk factors include war veterans, children who are living in violent or abusive households, children and women who have been victims of sexual abuse, and those who have witnessed traumatic events, accidents and violent death of a loved one.
Women have more risk of developing PTSD than men. Most people manifest signs of PTSD shortly after they have been through traumatic experiences while others can have delayed PTSD manifestations which may show up only after months or even up to years later.
Treatments For The Co
Oftentimes, due to the common occurrence of PTSD and substance abuse, various types of therapy will need to be incorporated. Seeking safety is one method of treatment. Instead of running away from the emotions by numbing oneself, someone with PTSD will need to feel safe to cope with the triggers. There are many treatments that are used to target co-occurrence.
Dr Joan Kaufman Explains The Four Stages Of Trauma
In the video above, Dr. Joan Kaufman of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University discusses the different stages of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy, or , the best evidence-based intervention for children who have impairing reactions to traumatic events. One key insight, she says, is that caregivers and children must work together, and that clear communication and understanding can make all the difference.
Below is a transcript of the video:
The second is skills-building. Being able to develop a sense of skills to deal with extreme anxiety: relaxation training, thought stopping techniques for recurrent memories. And the training and skills the parent wants are how do I manage the child when they get irritable or they may be oppositional or they dont want to sleep. What are some skills I can use that will help them manage those behaviors and not have things escalate.
After the trauma narrative is created , its something thats . And its a really important process, that these are not experiences and thoughts that are alone in the childs head, but that the parent and the child have a way of talking and communicating about these things.
- Was this helpful?
Get the latest news and resources in your inbox.
Is It Possible To Prevent Ptsd
While disaster-preparedness training is a good idea in terms of improving the immediate physical safety and logistical issues involved with a traumatic event, such training may also provide important preventive factors against developing PTSD. That is as evidenced by the fact that those with more professional-level training and experience tend to develop PTSD less often when coping with disaster than those without the benefit of such training or experience. People who have experienced trauma but are not members of those professions have been found to be less likely to develop PTSD if they receive imaging exposure and therapeutic processing by trained professionals within a day of the trauma and weekly sessions for at least two weeks thereafter.
There are medications that help prevent the development of PTSD. Some medicines that treat depression, decrease the heart rate, or increase the action of other body chemicals are effective tools in the prevention of PTSD when given in the days immediately after an individual experiences a traumatic event.
How Trauma Can Lead To Depression
You may undergo just one type of talk therapy, or your doctor may use a combined treatment approach. Depending on the traumatic experience, biopsychosocial issues, symptom presentation, and patient preferences, a carefully selected and sequenced approach to providing therapy may be necessary, Connors explains. Because PTSD might show up in a number of different ways, providers have to make complex decisions on how to treat it, including addressing a number of different ongoing to help manage patients condition, she says.
Hunter also cautions that talk therapy can be a misleading term because all effective therapies for PTSD have a behavioral component to them.
Different types of talk therapy include:
Prolonged Exposure Therapy This type of therapy exposes you to your trauma in a safe way. It helps you talk about the details of your trauma and confront safe situations that you may have been avoiding.
Mental imagery, writing, or a visit to the location where the event occurred may be used to help you face and control your fears.
What helps is essentially, through repetition, changing the physical and emotional response you have when you are reminded of the trauma, Hunter says.
You may even use a virtual reality device that allows you to virtually re-enter the trauma setting.
Stress Inoculation Training This treatment teaches you to reduce anxiety by looking at your memories in a healthy way.
Best Holistic Treatments For Ptsd
Traditionally, treatment for PTSD incorporates medications with psychotherapy. The most common medications for PTSD are antidepressants with the most common psychotherapies being some form of cognitive behavioral therapy , such as exposure therapy.
While these therapies are usually effective, there are two difficulties some individuals may run across:
For the above two reasons, many are turning to holistic treatment methods in order to combat PTSD symptoms. These methods involve a similar structure to traditional treatment incorporating all-natural herbs and supplements with holistic forms of therapy.
The following is a review of the most effective holistic treatments for PTSD. However, it should be noted that these alternatives havent yet been proven to be more effective than traditional treatment. With that said, anyone who decides to participate in them is doing so at their own risk.
Q & A With Dr Barbara Rothbaum
BrainLine sat down with Dr. Barbara Rothbaum, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at Emory University School of Medicine and part of the Wounded Warrior Projects® Warrior Care Network®. Dr. Rothbaum spoke about treating PTSD and her pioneering work in virtual reality exposure therapy.
What Are The Risks And Side Effects
There are some risks with the SGB injection, but the serious ones are quite unlikely. The incidence of severe complications following SGB are less than two in a thousand. When severe complications happen, they can include:
- Collapsed lung
More common temporary side effects of the injection can include:
- Numbness in arm
- Hoarse voice/feeling of something in throat
- Bruising at the injection site
- Numbness or weakness in the body below the neck