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Find veterans treatment for PTSD at Advanced Wellness Solutions.
Veterans seeking treatment for PTSD should know that acupuncture can treat PTSD symptoms of depression and pain. Acupuncture for veterans treatment for PTSD can also improve physical and mental health functioning. Acupuncture can also significantly improve sleep quality which in turn improves physical and mental health.
What is PTSD?
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can occur after a traumatic (extremely stressful) event. It is common to suffer stress after surviving traumatic events such as combat, being assaulted or even being in a car accident. However, if your stressful reactions don’t subside over time or are impacting how you live your life, you may have PTSD.
Experiencing trauma doesn’t mean you’ll develop PTSD. While about 8% of the general population will experience PTSD, the incidence for veterans is much higher. A public health study of PTSD in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans showed 15.7% of OEF/OIF deployed Veterans screened positive for PTSD compared to 10.9% of non-deployed Veterans.1 It is estimated that 30% of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.2
There are four main types of PTSD symptoms:3
- intrusive memories
- negative changes in thinking and mood
- changes in physical and emotional reactions.
Behavioral symptoms of PTSD include agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation. The psychological symptoms of PTSD include flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust.
PTSD also causes negative mood changes such as a loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness. Sleep disturbances including insomnia or nightmares are also common in people suffering from PTSD.
Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you or a loved one:
- have had disturbing thoughts and/or feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month
- if these thoughts and/or feelings are extreme or severe,
- feel you (or they) are losing control of your/their life.
Early treatment can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.
PTSD often presents simultaneously with other mental health conditions. Depression is the most common comorbidity of PTSD in veterans. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is nearly three to five times more likely to emerge in those with PTSD than those without PTSD.4 Other common comorbidities of PTSD in military veterans include anxiety and substance abuse or dependence. 5
Veterans Treatment for PTSD
One of the most frequently reported symptoms of PTSD among OEF/OIF veterans returning from deployment is sleep disturbances. 6 Sleep plays an incredibly important role in physical and mental health. See Sleep Helps you Heal for more information.
It is important for everyone to find drug free ways to get essential healthy sleep. Veterans suffering from PTSD need extra help in this area.
Acupuncture has been commonly used to treat insomnia in China for thousands of years. Dozens of randomized control trials show that acupuncture improves sleep quality. In these studies, acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with total sleep duration.
Acupuncture plus medications showed better effect than medications alone on total sleep duration. Also, acupuncture plus herbs were significantly better than herbs alone on increase of sleep rates. 7
According to Chinese medicine, there are 2,000 meridian acupuncture points on the body. These points connect the body’s meridians or energetic pathways. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very fine, sterile needles into specific points to facilitate natural healing.
Benefits of Acupuncture for Mental Health and Veterans Treatment for PTSD
Acupuncture has shown potential benefit in a wide range of mental health disorders including anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders. There is growing clinical evidence to support the use of acupuncture for a variety of mental health disorders.
In 2014, Charles C Engel et. al. ran a well-designed randomized controlled trial. The trial compared the effectiveness of using acupuncture for PTSD. The subjects in the trial were divided into two categories: those who received usual PTSD care plus acupuncture compared to usual PTSD care alone.
The following is taken from Complementary and Alternative Medicine Approaches in the Treatment of PTSD by Gary H. Wynn
Acupuncturists in the study delivered a standardized treatment during the first four sessions to facilitate clearing of trauma, calming the spirit, and balancing the Qi. For the remaining four sessions, the acupuncturist was allowed to adjust the treatment based on clinical findings. Both groups were followed for 12 weeks.
At 12 weeks, the acupuncture treatment group showed significantly greater improvements in PTSD symptoms as well as improvements on ratings of depression, pain, and physical and mental health functioning.
In the study abstract,8
Mean improvement in PTSD severity was significantly greater among those receiving acupuncture than in those receiving UPC. Pre-post effect-sizes for these outcomes were large and robust.
If you suspect you or a loved on is suffering from PTSD, please seek treatment. PTSD symptoms usually get worse without treatment.