PTSD is a major problem for veterans today and is going to become a bigger problem over time. That's not speculation it's a fact, based on the enormous number of troops that have been in combat in recent years.
In fact, more than 2.0 million American and coalition troops have served in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, with thousands deployed multiple times. Recent surveys found that 20% of soldiers who served in Afghanistan now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression.
However, alarming these figures may be, it's comforting to know that diagnosis for PTSD is getting better and numerous treatments are available. So what treatments are available for suffers of PTSD?
One of the most common symptoms of PTSD is difficulty sleeping, which can be a major problem and have a disruptive effect on one's ability to concentrate and focus. A drug called Prazosin is often prescribed for nightmares and has been used for a long time in the treatment of hypertension.
Anxiety and depression is another common issue and many drugs are available to treat this symptom. The one thing to consider with any medication is that side-effects are often associated with their use and dependency can also become an issue. Working closely with your doctor should help you find the right medications and manage any side-effects that are experienced. Ideally, medication will help out in the short-term and provide a route into more sustainable and natural treatments.
A number of forms of therapy are available for suffers of PTSD, and whilst in the past many people have been reticent to consider 'seeing a shrink', therapy is one of the most effective ways to tackle the condition.
It's possible to enter into a one-on-one or a group therapy programme. Group therapy has benefited many people facing challenging mental or physical situations and the power of connecting with people who have been through similar experiences should not be underestimated.
Some types of therapy used in PTSD treatment include:
Cognitive therapy. Talking about self-destructive thoughts and what causes this can help you develop strategies to change these notions.
Exposure therapy. This is a behavioral therapy technique to help you face up to the things that you find upsetting so you can learn to deal with it.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This seems like an unusual approach, but combining Exposure Therapy with a programme of guided eye movements can help sufferers deal with traumatic memories. This is because there is a strong connection between eye movement and the function of the memory.
A combination of these approaches will likely be the best route, and working with your healthcare professional should allow you to find the best approach for you. Just remember that there's no need to deal with the symptoms of PTSD on your own and effective treatment can have a massive difference on the quality of your life.