Wednesday, April 18, 2012

VA offers spectrum of services to vets with PTSD

April 7, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)


About 10 to 15 percent of the more than 1.4 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are [dealing] with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD results when a person experiences a traumatic event that involves exposure to personal threat or the death or extreme suffering of others; an event that creates strong feelings of fear, helplessness or horror. 

It's common for one to be greatly troubled by uncontrollable painful memories that cause emotional distress, ... sleep loss, irritability and inability to have positive emotions. The good news is that effective treatments for the disorder are available.  

To date, the [VA] has seen more than 223,600 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with PTSD. 

 What stops vets from going for help? 

Going for treatment can feel like an admission of failure or personal weakness. And most people don't know much about what to expect of mental health treatment. In fact, treatment for stress disorder is a straightforward process. You learn about the effects of trauma ... and how recovery takes place. 

You form friendships with other vets. And you master some practical skills for dealing with painful memories, anger or physical tension. 

The earlier we treat combat veterans with readjustment problems, the better chance we have of stopping PTSD. 

Going for help is an act of courage that can cut short distress and restore a sense of personal power, hope and connection with others. If you are a veteran reading this ... seize the day and go for help. If you're a family member of a veteran with a problem, talk to him or her about treatment and offer to help with the process, or to go for counseling yourself to ... learn how you can help your loved one.

Note: For practical information on how to get help with PTSD, click here



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