New PTSD Therapies Offer New Hope for Veterans

The last couple of years have seen many veterans petitioning for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to accept and financially support Cognitive processing and prolonged-exposure therapies. Finally, following a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the VA has chosen to offer both these therapies at VA medical facilities.

Estimates vary but generally average around 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans return to the United States suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The unfortunate problem with PTSD is that it can affect individual soldiers uniquely and not all treatments work for all PTSD sufferers.

That same GAO report indicated the U.S. government spent $24.5 million in 2009 solely on PTSD research. Comparatively, they only spent $9.9 million in 2005. The need for treatment is growing with no indication that need will slow any time soon.

The two therapies at issue have been controversial, yet to date have been shown as effective. Prolonged-exposure therapy operates by having patients meet their scary memories head on, as opposed to avoiding them. Cognitive processing therapy is slightly different in that it is fixed in the concept that PTSD itself forms out of stress, which is rooted in a divergence of the soldiers’ beliefs; one from before the traumatic event and one following the event. Soldiers then write about the event as much as possible and then read those writings to their group and in private, forcing them to address their issues.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.