PTS SERIES: “THEIR STORIES” (LIVING WITH PTS)
WEEK 5 OF 6
PTS TOOLBOX – TREATMENTS:
The main treatments for people with PTS are psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, or a combination of the two. Everyone is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another.
We will touch on other treatments including Yoga, Medicinal Marijuana, Service Dogs and a new breakthrough injection that is showing tremendous results, called SGB (Stellate Ganglion Block).
“What should a family member or a loved one do if they suspect their veteran has PTS symptoms?
BRENDA McBRIDE / COUNSELOR: “Approach to what could you do vs what you should do….Should suggests there is only one answer and one way. Even the way they fold their sheets, there is one way to do it and you should do it this way. That reinforces the black or white, all or nothing, colorized thinking. In the real world you might get a flat tire, the air condition may go out in the church, you may have to deal with it and go with the flow. Should is a source of shame, and it is a risk.
What could you do, and could give choice. Not one thing is going to work for everybody. We know shame is going to be involved in this. Studies show trauma informed Yoga works better than Prozac.
At the time of trauma, the part of my brain that holds my words goes offline because there are no words for the horror I saw. There is just this feeling and this body reaction. When I go to counseling that is what is triggered and my words leave and sometimes words are not enough. People can give empathy and not sympathy meaning being with somebody in their pain without shame or judgement. Recognizing your triggers is a skill. Going to a support group is a great place to start. If it is someplace where you feel safe. You have to feel safe, seen and heard. Educating yourselves is very important.
They then can learn different things and try different things in the toolbox of recovery choices. Meditation helps. You don’t normally start a person diagnosed with PTSD with medication, because their thoughts are not safe. Their head is not safe. You must work with a counselor that is trauma informed that can give the veteran a road map. Gratitude helps, staying in the moment helps.”
PTSD therapy has three main goals:
- Improve your symptoms
- Teach you skills to deal with it
- Restore your self-esteem
Most PTSD therapies fall under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea is to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your life. This might happen through talking about your trauma or concentrating on where your fears come from.
Depending on your situation, group or family therapy might be a good choice for you instead of individual sessions. (SOURCE; webmd.com)
Cognitive Processing Therapy
CPT is a 12-week course of treatment, with weekly sessions of 60-90 minutes.
At first, you’ll talk about the traumatic event with your therapist and how your thoughts related to it have affected your life. Then you’ll write in detail about what happened. This process helps you examine how you think about your trauma and figure out new ways to live with it.
For example, maybe you’ve been blaming yourself for something. Your therapist will help you consider all the things that were beyond your control, so you can move forward, understanding and accepting that, deep down, it wasn’t your fault, despite things you did or didn’t do. (SOURCE; webmd.com)
Therapy: One-on-One and Group
Cognitive Processing Therapy
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Stress Inoculation Training
ONE ON ONE AND GROUP THERAPY:
SUSAN OXFORD / COUNSELOR: Group therapy or single session which is better? “When there is a more one on one some can’t afford it, so some will not have access to it. For some it is easier to open up when there is only one person there and they know it’s not going to go anywhere else.
For some there is a stigma when they say, you are not a veteran, you don’t know what I am going thru. Sometimes it helps them to be in a group of veterans.
One of the most powerful things I have seen in group therapy is that “me too” mentality that someone knows that I’m not the only one that went thru the kind of thing you went thru. It doesn’t mean I went thru the exact same thing you went thru, but I get it. They can offer a safe place for them. The brain registers safe like a safe healthy connection, then the body has a way to down regulate. Veterans have come in shaking badly for months and then at the end of a session they will say, wow, look at my hands. His body is responding because these people get me, they aren’t judging me and I can say I am crazy or I am demented. It is powerful for them just to say and can say anything. For some the group is too much and they have to start out in single sessions.
Susceptibility goes back to family origin and how that person was taught to cope, what was their solving problem or support system like. Do they feel like they belong somewhere, does somebody have their back? If they feel no one sees them or hears them a point in time comes where the body just can’t keep up. Those that don’t have the support will be harder to bounce back and have that resiliency.”
DANO: “I was in Dallas VA and they wanted to work with me on word recognition. I thought this was stupid. This counselor has this deck of cards. A picture of an alligator, a truck, a clock. Tell me what is says blah, blah, blah. She flips up a compass and I have no damn idea what this was. She was trying to give me clues. It starts with a C. Helps with navigation. I have no clue what that is. I thought to myself, what the hell is the matter with my brain. OK, relax, relax, she tells me. She keeps going thru the cards. Another one. I have no clue what it is. I broke down crying. These are common pictures. I have no idea what these are. It was shocking to me. I started thinking about my life insurance. How am I going to protect my wife? I obviously have some severe brain damage.”
WIFE OF A VETERAN: “The cognitive program and writing down in his journal helped him tremendously. It helped him when he got out into the public. How do I handle this? How can I get in this group of people in this room and it not bother me? In the group situation they ask each other. If you are in this situation what do you do. They get ideas to help them when or if they get into those situations. That fight or flight situations. I back out of it and I breathe deeply and slowly. In a one-on-one it is just you and that doctor and he is just writing down while you are talking. But in group you get immediate feedback from others that are going through the same situations you are dealing with.”
Prolonged Exposure Therapy: (SOURCE: webmd.com)
If you’ve been avoiding things that remind you of the traumatic event, PE will help you confront them. It involves eight to 15 sessions, usually 90 minutes each.
Early on in treatment, your therapist will teach you breathing techniques to ease your anxiety when you think about what happened. Later, you’ll make a list of the things you’ve been avoiding and learn how to face them, one by one. In another session, you’ll recount the traumatic experience to your therapist, then go home and listen to a recording of yourself.
Doing this as “homework” over time may help ease your symptoms.
Julia C. Smith, Psy.D VA Clinical Director, Mental Health Trauma Services: (VA North Texas Health Care System): “The two therapy techniques we use here at the VA is cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. For a better understanding of PTSD treatment, I was given this pamphlet for more information. It is from the National Center for PTSD. I give that to all my new patients. It is called Understanding PTSD Treatment.”https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/index.asp
Part of prolonged exposure therapy is creating a higher hierarchy of situations better avoided and avoided for various reasons. Maybe because they are a trigger or maybe they bring up unpleasant physical sensations or the veteran has been so use to not leaving their house or just the general things that are causing their anxiety. They work with their therapists to gradually work their way up the hierarchy like, staying in the situation for 15 minutes and the next time stay in the situation for 30 minutes until what we call habitual processing happens. All anxiety, once it reaches a peak, as long as it is not shut down meaning like, oh, I leave the situation or I have a drink or something like that doesn’t shut it down, then there will be a gradual decrease. That is called habituation.
A lot of times when a veteran is anxious or has anxiety his first response is to get out of that situation. That prevents that habituation from happening so what prolonged exposure does it helps the veteran to experience the anxiety and lets them realize that it is not life ending and they are not in the traumatic situation. This allows it to come to a resolution. That happens over and over across time and it is really effective. Not every veteran is at a place to do that type of treatment initially so that is why we have the presence centered CPT and coping skills.
If we take a test and we study it over and over, are we not stamping that image to the brain similar to your Exposure Therapy? Julia C. Smith, Psy.D. VA Clinical Director, Mental Health Trauma Services: (VA North Texas Health Care System): “Actually it is quite the opposite. What happens in PTSD and prolonged exposure where there are these “snap shots,” of the picture of the trauma or some people will experience smells or flashbacks or something that is a lot more visceral. A traumatic event is so different from regular human experiences like going to a restaurant or driving somewhere, the brain knows how to process that. If an event or situation in the brain is never addressed, never talked about, or not given the chance to have a beginning, middle or end, that’s what keeps it floating around. The brain is like a file room with file cabinets and file folders. We have file folders like me leaving to go to work every day, I kind of know what to expect. Traumatic experiences like assaults or combat, they don’t have file folders or file cabinets yet. They kind of just get “plunked there” with all these papers scattered about. So, with prolonged exposure therapy, in a safe environment, it allows the patient to experience the emotions related to the trauma. It allows them to create a narrative that’s not fragmented like a cohesive narrative in a safe space. In a space where nothing bad is going to happen. It is a vulnerable place, but a safe place. It allows the veteran’s nervous system to put it in a category that it is something that happened in the past and not presently. So, it doesn’t drive it in further it actually helps process it.”
Dr. Sean Mulvaney: “A lot of times they use a form of Exposure Therapy and there are several variances of this where they go over the details of their trauma while they are doing certain physical tasks or just writing things down. They keep going over the detail of their trauma. In Europe this is not accepted where there is a very high dropout rate because it is extremely painful for the person who has to recall these extremely dramatic details. The thought process is if you go over it enough it will lose its emotional steam or it will lose its power to control your response. When we study for a test we go over it again and again to burn that memory into the brain so I can recall it when I want. So, is it reasonable to think if you keep on recalling the details of something horrible you may just be burning that memory in place?
I have seen these sessions and they are heart wrenching. In Dakota Meyer, I have talked with him. He is a Medal of Honor winner from Austin, Tx. He is an open advocate for this and he talks about it on videos that are posted on YouTube. He is a great American. He has tried to bring awareness to the scope of this problem. He readily says, “He would rather face enemy fire, than go thru those sessions.”
BRENDA McBRIDE / COUNSELOR: “A lot of suicides with our veterans, with estimates of 22 cases a day, have to do with PTSD. A lot of it has to do with the stigma. Sometimes people feel they failed therapy. If the only therapy that are being used are traditional cognitive behavior talk about it, talk about it, talk about it. Sometimes we know talking about it is not enough. Talking doesn’t get me to sleep, talking doesn’t keep me from these bad flashbacks.”
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 hand, 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.
SUSAN OXFORD / COUNSELOR: “We look to see how old stuff or wounds is playing into their current life. One veteran with a lot of his shame, feeling like he was unlovable. We used EMDR on this patient. EMDR means eye movement, desensitization and rate processing. Lot of this links to older times and incidents. For some they are ready to deal with the past and some realizing it was such a big deal. Like they never belonged or like they never felt they were important. Those things in his past was really keeping him stuck. Some of them can go there and some can’t, they have to feel safe. Some can go there and some can’t but those things will still be there.
With EMDR as therapists we sometimes don’t have to go back to the early issues. Sometimes the stories and reliving can be more traumatizing. We sometimes need the brain to process it but without having to go back and relive some older issues.
Sometimes they just want to see how I can function within my family. Ok, then let’s just do that. Some can say I can keep going and some say OK I am fine.
EMDR focuses on the brain to be able to process and integrate mind, body and spirit. That body went thru just as much trauma as the mind and the spirit. So, we have to incorporate the body.”
STACEY: “I do the one-on-one therapy and do good with that. I have been doing that for four years now. I am fixin to start with a group, but that brings up a lot of anxiety in me. I will be hearing everyone else’s problems. I don’t know how I will do, especially if I hear someone’s story that is similar to mine. Am I going to be Re-triggered?”
Medications: (SOURCE: webmd.com)
The brains of people with PTSD process “threats” differently, in part because the balance of chemicals called neurotransmitters is out of whack. They have an easily triggered “fight or flight” response, which is what makes you jumpy and on-edge. Constantly trying to shut that down could lead to feeling emotionally cold and removed.
Medications help you stop thinking about and reacting to what happened, including having nightmares and flashbacks. They can also help you have a more positive outlook on life and feel more “normal” again.
Several types of drugs affect the chemistry in your brain related to fear and anxiety. Doctors will usually start with medications that affect the neurotransmitters serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs), including:
The FDA has approved only paroxetine and sertraline for treating PTS.
What effect does a large number of prescribed drugs, what veterans call “DRUG COCKTAILS,” have on their overall health and are there any White Papers or Peer Group Studies on the long-term effects of mixing multiple drugs to treat our veterans with Post Traumatic Stress?
Dr. Lia Thomas VA Medical Director, Mental Health Trauma Services: (VA North Texas Health Care System): “In the same way we practice evidence-based psychotherapy we are practicing evidence-based psychopharmacology as well. We follow the VA-DOD clinical practice guidelines for medication management. This is a very individualized process with folks and again we know that the data and literature has changed over time with that research. It is unclear and we know there have been changes in our guidance. We are being mindful of our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan like being on opioid’s and Benzodiazepine and other medications. From my standpoint, I only prescribe psychiatric medications. We no longer prescribe Benzodiazepine’s for long term treatment of PTSD. We know that doesn’t work. We are working closely with our partners in primary care to make sure their pain issues are addressed and we can all work together on them. That is how I would frame that question as far as pain management. I hear this phrase that “I was on 10 million pills” but sometimes I want to ask people back, speaking from experience, my mother will tell me her cholesterol felt high so she took her cholesterol medicine today. So, one of the jobs we have to do with our patience is ask them HOW they are taking their medicines. It is a two-way conversation. Dr. Smith and I can’t read minds. Sometimes our patients will say, yeah I am taking my medications and I will look at my computer going, but you haven’t filled them in three months and I only give you thirty days. So, the conversation is, are the medicines working? How are the medicines working? There is also a conversation about stigma because people feel like, I hate these medicines, because taking them remind me I am sick or that I have something wrong.”
SUSAN OXFORD / COUNSELOR: “There are medications that can help with nightmares. We need to get that person to be able to sleep. There is some anti-anxiety medication to help a person sleep. Zoloft is sometimes used. Some do not want medication period. Some just numb the body so they don’t have to deal with the problem. That is just numbing and dealing with the symptom. Just like the alcohol or the marijuana.”
What is the most successful method for treating PTS? “It has to be a lot of combinations. A lot of tools in the toolbox. One of the most powerful is safe connection. Meaning I am just giving you a safe place to be. To be able to cry or be angry or confused or in a group where I can be that. It is very powerful to be in a group and see this happen. It is so powerful for them to have safe people. Not so much physical but that I can be vulnerable, you are not going to shame me, you are not going to judge me or tell me what I need to do. You are just going to let me be there and see me. That is more powerful than anything. That is where I start with anybody. I just want them to be safe.”
Dr. Sean Mulvaney: “The evidence for a lot of commonly done PTSD treatments is the evidence is not very strong at all. The evidence for a pharmacological treatment, and that is for one drug, is 30% which is exactly the same as placebo in studies. The evidence for one drug is very small. We have people on multiple drugs and there are NO studies on people taking multiple drugs. It is not evidence based once you start throwing more medicine at people. We have no idea what that “cocktail” is going to do in their brain. There is no evidence to support that and say we should do that. If one is not good we should add two or three. So, this falls into something called the practice of medicine but it is not evidence based.
These drugs all these veterans are taking have sexual side effects. You have just been in a military regulation of forced celibacy for 4 or 6 months or a year. Now you are back, and allowed by military regulations to have sex now you give them a drug that has sexual adverse effects. Who wants a side effect like anti orgasmia?”
STACEY: “In 2000 they started me out on Trazadone to help me sleep. They gave me a clonazepam and a mood stabilizer, although I am off of that now. I only take that as needed.
Group starts next month. That is starting to scare me again. I don’t know how that is going to go. But, if I don’t go they will kick me out of therapy. My therapist said, “I need to get you out of your comfort zone.” But, my comfort zone is the only place where I have been happy. I can go swimming with two of my daughters and my grandkids. I can swim and relax and I don’t have to talk to anybody. In group you have to talk and it is the unexpected and I honestly don’t feel comfortable.”
DUB: “I went to the psych unit. I lose the feelings in my legs. They would keep upping the drugs. If this don’t work take another one. If those two don’t work take a third one. One of the doctors I went to wanted to know how many people have you killed? I don’t know. How is Afghanistan? It smelled bad. He would take notes and stop and say, did you ever blow anything up? I didn’t deal with that, I was light infantry. These guys are notorious for this. I go in there and say I am not talking to one of these clowns here. I quickly say; can I talk to somebody else?
They won’t assign you to another doctor? They don’t have enough doctors at the VA. They try to make it where you see some medical person at their appointment rates. Usually you will get a first-year resident that doesn’t know the difference from a rectal exam and a nose hair. My doc will ask, Is the medication working? How’s the kids doing? Do you work, how are you feeling these days? We are going to meet again in 90 days.
Sometimes you just feel confused. If I miss a drug, am I going to be happy, am I going to be unable to sleep? Am I going to be constipated or not? Every day is an experiment.”
BRENDA McBRIDE / COUNSELOR: “Sometimes, the people the VA are using are not the most trauma informed people. You don’t get the answers to the questions you don’t ask. When I had structure I did this, and this and in the morning I do better. Sometimes we don’t talk about it so we are locking and loading. I am just supposed to handle it because that is what I am supposed to do. I lock and load and then it triggers the shame. I am a failure, I am obsolete.”
BRAVO: “A lot of times we are over medicating. When I went to Bonham I had to spend 4 and 1/2 Weeks detoxing off the medications that I was put on in order just to go through the program. Now I take absolutely no narcotics. I refuse to put narcotics in my body. I was a zombie, I was fine. I don’t want to be that person anymore.
When they found out I was taking medications and I was working as an electrician, a doctor behind the table at Bonham looked at me and said, “How in the Hell are you still alive?”
I don’t know if it’s the VA or a combination of both. The soldiers are looking for the medications. You have a medication that is working and a lot of times they might be inclined to say it’s not working or it’s not working at this prescription dose. I didn’t know I had PTSD until four years ago. My friends said I was high strung, short tempered, short to anger. I wasn’t short to anger, if you pissed me off I would kick your ass. If I didn’t want to have anything to do with you, I wouldn’t have anything to do with you. There wasn’t anything wrong with me, it was the rest of the world that had the problem.”
Jack: “I was diagnosed at the Dallas VA. You heard so many vets have PTSD. I am stronger than that. I can’t have that. When they told me I didn’t believe it, but it made sense. It took a year to sink it, I have it. I don’t know why it gets worse. I would think it would get to a point where it will stop. But I feel like it keeps regressing.
Some of the medications they give me, sometimes it would work for a little while and then it quits working. So, they will change it up. Today they changed up my medication again. Two of them they increased the dosage and the other one is a different drug. I am being weaned off another one. I hate that. I hate taking a handful of medications. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I think there are better solutions out there.”
(SOURCE: webmd.com) Because people respond differently to medications, and not everyone’s PTSD is the same, your doctor may prescribe other medicines “off label,” too. (That means the manufacturer didn’t ask the FDA to review studies of the drug showing that it’s effective specifically for PTSD.) These may include
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Antipsychotics or second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs)
- Medications might help you with specific symptoms or related issues, such as prazosin for insomnia and nightmares.
- Which one or combination of meds is likely to work best for you depends in part on the kinds of trouble you’re having in your life, what the side effects are like, and whether you also have anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse problems.
- It takes time to get the dosage of some medications right. With certain medications, you might need to have regular tests — for example, to see how your liver is working — or check in with your doctor because of possible side effects.
- Medications probably won’t get rid of your symptoms, but they can make them less intense and more manageable.
WIFE OF A VETERAN: “One of them is called nightmare pills. Most vets who are on them know that is what they are called. The clinical name for this is so astronomical. They say, take these for your nightmares, take these for your mood swings. That is what it says on the bottle, for moods. Take this for sleeping. There are like four or five different ones.”
DANO: “I did some one-on-ones with various Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and they put me on several medications. At this time my dreams were so crazy they always ended up in physical outbursts. They had to tame that first. The drug lowered my blood pressure so much you were not physically able to respond. Over time I have decreased the dose. Not on doctors but on my orders. I felt after three years I have this under control. Then there are the happy pills. I have never changed the dosage. They help me. I think today I am still on about nine different drugs. I have done the roller coaster trip. Up the dosage here, lower the dosage there.”
JACK: “I started seeing my mental health doctor and they started putting me on medication. I have taken about 20 different kinds of drugs with the VA. I know there is a drug out there that will help. I am doing counseling so that is another form of help. I have only done two visits so I can’t really say it has helped me yet. I go to the one in Athens once a week. I need something to ease my anxiety. I am on mood stabilizers. Just when I know that I don’t have that internal pressure, like I am ready to explode. I can tell when that goes away. It comes and goes. Today at the VA several times it is not a full-blown panic attack. I tell my doctor these are not working, I feel like a “guinea pig.”
GRUNT: “I was taking about 20 pills from the VA. I took these over a four- or five-year period.
The psychiatrist in Longview helped me get straightened out with all my medicines. I was taking so many pills in Dallas. Now, I take four pills.”
STACEY: “Some of the veterans I have talked to are on 15-20 different medications and have seen their dosages go up and down as the years have progressed. Some of them are down to 2 or 4 drugs. But, it has taken years to get to that point. The vets feel like a guinea pig.”
DANO: “The support I got from the VA where they listened and tried to fix me. They tried. Without all of the tools the VA has given me, I don’t think I would have been able to function. I believe the counselors and doctors and others have my best interest at heart. What I went thru for 8-9 months they put me in a place where I can function normally in society. That is all we can expect. I can go to Walmart and not be too panicked. As long as they don’t trap me, I can usually walk out. They have helped me to the point where if trapped, I can calmly get myself out of that situation. Most of the times. That is a BIG step for me.”
JACK: “I take medicine but I am still having nightmares. She increased the dosage. I am still seeing everything, especially my demons. The ones I have shot, the ones that have been shot. The explosions. A combination of lots of war images. I need more help from the VA. The therapist I am seeing now, I don’t think she knows a lot about veterans so how are you going to try and help me. I just don’t think she understands what I am going thru. I have a counselor that does and she is knowledgeable that can continue to teach me and give me some tools to work with. I have only seen her twice, so I don’t know where it is going. I am normally not a big talker, even in therapy. It is hard to express myself.”
SUSAN OXFORD / COUNSELOR: “Trauma and PTSD are hot topics right now. First and foremost, that person has to feel like they are safe in their body. So, we start there. OK so you have muscle tension. How can we work on that? We try to get them to use their brain to help process some of the things going on with their bodies.
Self-awareness is huge. The more they know about their brains and bodies the more that is when they feel a little more empowered, so when this happens I can do this.
This will help me bring myself down instead of me going off on everybody.”
SUSAN OXFORD / COUNSELOR:
TRE: “Tension and trauma releasing exercises are also helpful. (TRE) Another body-based treatment. It allows the body to be able to tremor, to release some of the cortisol, adrenalin and some of these chemicals that keep the body in the heightened awareness. They don’t have to have a provider for TRE, they can take it home with them and work on it.”
YOGA: “Lot of research going towards Yoga. Yoga can sometimes be even more effective than anti-depressants. It is allowing the body to re balance, to self-regulate. It brings breathe, awareness and presence.
When someone is struggling with PTSD they are not present. They are stuck in the past or stuck in the “What ifs.” So, they can’t be present or be engaged.”
MDMA: MDMA (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with a chemical structure similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA is an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic, producing an energizing effect, as well as distortions in time and perception and enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences. It is known commonly as Ecstasy and Molly.
Some countries have approved MDMA, like acid. It turns off that threat center and allows them to talk about things without their bodies responding and reacting.
MDMA can help people who suffer from PTSD, according to new research — and it could be approved by 2021
- MDMA could be used as a treatment for PTSD, according to a new study.
- Most of all 26 participants had few or no PTSD symptoms a year after taking MDMA with therapy…
- The response to the results has been mixed, and some researchers are skeptical.
JACK: “I have kind of checked out CBD Oil.”
INFO: CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
It is gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies confirming it may ease symptoms of ailments like chronic pain and anxiety. ( Source: Healthline.com )
Jack: “When using the oil, I can feel a little more ease at work. It is not a long-time cure. It is not FDA approved so the VA doesn’t use it.”
Stress Inoculation Therapy:
SIT is a type of CBT. You can do it by yourself or in a group. You won’t have to go into detail about what happened. The focus is more on changing how you deal with the stress from the event. You might learn massage and breathing techniques and other ways to stop negative thoughts by relaxing your mind and body. After about three months, you should have the skills to release the added stress from your life.
THERAPY DOGS: Dogs can help ensure that their partners are taking medication. PTSD is a complex disorder that is often treated with both therapy and medication. Therapy dogs are trained to retrieve medication and bring it to owners in bite-proof containers. Here are some reasons why dogs might help individuals with PTS. Dogs are vigilant. Dogs are protective. Dogs respond well to authoritative relationships. Dogs love unconditionally. Dogs help relearn trust. Dogs help to remember feelings of love.
If you live with PTSD, an emotional support pet can help deal with symptoms such as loneliness and anxiety. My good friend Vickie Ragle of Therapy Dogs of Van Zandt County recommended Patriot Paws out of Rockwall, Texas for help with service dogs and veterans with PTS.
The mission of Patriot PAWS is to train and provide service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. Patriot PAWS intends to build partnerships with local, state and national organizations to help develop and support this goal. ( SOURCE: patriotpaws.org)
Photography: I had a Marine Corps veteran stop into our veteran’s gift shop recently at the Veterans Memorial. He was telling me he had been diagnosed with PTSD and for him taking up photography was the best thing that ever happened. Using photography and learning all he could about the hobby helped him to focus his life thru the lens vs thinking about all the trauma he suffered In Vietnam.
Meditation: Meditation Proven Effective for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In an article entitled “Is Meditation the Best Cure for PTSD in EMS?” Erin Fletcher, Director of the Wounded Warrior project, says, “Meditation can help bring a person’s attention back to the current moment, which reduces or eliminates or reduces anxiety.”
SGB – Stellate Ganglion Block Injection:
Stellate Ganglion Block or SGB has been around since 1925. An Army combat medic and former Navy Seal came across it 10 years ago.
It is a 15-minute procedure. An injection to the neck that relieves symptoms in as little as 30 minutes and last for years. Success rate of non-recurring trauma memories are in the 85-90% rates.
SGB could be the solution for patients waiting for a breakthrough in treating PTSD.
Dr. Sean Mulvaney: “My problem is not with pharmacotherapy for PTSD and not with exposure therapy or any other cognitive behavior therapy out there. My problem is when those things fail and these patients are still messed up, why wouldn’t you try and with these 18 peer reviewed papers have been shown to be safe and beneficial, try SGB.” ( You can review the Peer Group Papers and white papers on SGB on www.drseanmulvaney.com ).
In Week 6 and the Final in our series on PTS I travel to Annapolis, Maryland along with DUB, our PTS veteran from Van Zandt County.
Dr. Sean Mulvaney will treat our veteran with an SGB injection. The results are astounding.
I will take you step by step thru this procedure.
We will also talk about the new VA 2005-2017 Data on veteran suicide rates and their original FLAWED reporting.
Warrior Peer Groups
Camp Hope in Houston, Tx
Camp V in Tyler, Tx.
Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters
What out PTS Veterans want you to know….
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE VAN ZANDT COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL Phil Smith