Veterans – PTSD
You’ve seen the strained look on her face. She’s far away. She doesn’t sleep well and sits around all day doing nothing. She’s always tired. You’ve invited her to the things she loves doing, but she never feels like doing them anymore. Sometimes she yells a lot—really overreacts. But when you ask her what’s wrong, she denies any problems.
You’re happy she is back from Iraq, but you thought it would be different. You thought you could get back to normal.
You thought that having her home safe would make both of you happy again. She’s not at war anymore—why is she acting this way?
Your loved one may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Many veterans suffer from PTSD. The Veterans Administration (VA) reports that as many as 11-20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have it. Common war traumas include having been shot at, having seen someone shot or having seen death, but another cause of PTSD in veterans is military sexual trauma (MST). According to the VA, 23% of women in the military report sexual assault.
These numbers are scary but the good news is that there is help.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a physiological disorder that can result from being exposed to a traumatic event. The disorder results in several different symptoms.
- Re-experiencing. Some PTSD sufferers relive the traumatic event over and over. This can be in the form of bad memories, nightmares and flashbacks. Sights, sounds and smells can trigger re-experiencing the event.
- Avoidance. Sometimes people with PTSD avoid the people, places and events that remind them of what happened.
- Numbing. Symptoms of numbing include trouble expressing emotions, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, and the loss of memory of parts of the traumatic event.
- Arousal. Anger, irritability, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, feeling on guard and being easily startled or surprised are common arousal symptoms.
The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in someone’s life can be far reaching. Feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair, problems at work or with relationships, serious health problems, depression, anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse are not uncommon.
How Can I Help My Friend Or Relative With PTSD?
There are many ways you can help your friend or relative with PTSD.
- Learn everything you can about PTSD so you have a good idea what your friend is going through.
- Offer to go to doctor visits with your friend. Help keep track of medications and therapy. If your friend is learning new techniques to cope with stress, ask if there is any way you can help.
- Be available to listen, but be understanding if your friend doesn’t want to talk. Listen with an open heart. Don’t judge, argue or problem-solve. Listen with compassion.
- Plan fun activities together. Be aware of events or environments that are difficult and plan events to be as stress-free as possible.
- Encourage your friend to get support from family and other friends.
- Pay attention to any comments about hurting herself and report them to her therapist or doctor.
Sometimes supporting someone with PTSD is challenging. Get support for yourself so you are able to help your loved one. Seek safety and help immediately if your friend or relative becomes violent or threatening.
PTSD Crisis Resources
If you or your loved one is in crisis:
- Call 911.
- Go to your nearest Emergency Room.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Press “1” if you are a veteran.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Spanish/Español 1-888-628-9454.
- Go to the Veterans Crisis Line website to chat live with a crisis counselor at any time of day or night.
There are many new treatments available for soldiers and veterans suffering PTSD. The Veterans Administration has information about some of the therapies that have been most effective.
Acupuncture For PTSD
Treatment in a the Veterans Free clinic is unique for several reasons. Patients are treated in a group setting, sitting in comfortable chairs. There is an environment of calm and support. And the patients are treated using the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol, a series of 5 needles placed in one ear. The program is designed to address all the needs of people with PTSD.
The Veterans clinic has been very successful. Patients report stress reduction, improved mental clarity, improved energy, enhanced performance, better sleep, fewer bad dreams and headaches, less anxiety and depression, reduced anger and pain, improved general health and better relationships.
Of course, if your loved one doesn’t have a clinic nearby, or if he or she prefers a private environment, you can contact me for an appointment or a referral to local acupuncturist.
What Can You Do To Help Veterans With PTSD?
If you know someone with PTSD, reach out to them and offer support. And if you want to help even more, donate money or volunteer at community services for veterans. Many programs offer free services for veterans and they can always use assistance. Some places to start:
- Acupuncturists Without Borders: Support MSRP clinics.
- National Acupuncture Detoxification Association Advocacy: Help to create community clinics near you.
Thank you to the soldiers and veterans who have served our country so bravely.
Veterans in Polk County North Carolina
Acupuncture treatments are offered to veterans and military personnel thru the Veterans Choice Program for all health conditions.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, addiction and pain.
This is Auricular (ear) Acupuncture protocol that is been used for PTSD, Stress Anger , Depression Agitation. We usually do this in a group setting what we call community acupuncture where people come in and sit in chairs or lounge chairs. Needles are inserted, then the person rests for about 30 -45 min.
This therapy can be used for anyone , they do not have to do a full physical or lots of intensive paper work, they don’t have to interact with the people in the group in fact it is encouraged to be a rest – time
The treatment focuses on key points found on the ear. The organ pts chosen are associated with emotions, the Kd pt is for Anxiety , the Liver pt is for Anger, the Lung pt is for Greif or Will , the Yin and Yang pts are the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic,
Often we find that People who have been anxious can relax, those often are the ones that fall asleep or doze off in the chair, they are more peaceful. They often sleep better at night and calmer during the day.
To the Point Healthcare offers acupuncture treatments thru the Veterans Choice program and Non Va Care.
Cyndi offers a great service and always with a smile and a kind word. I have been attending her FREE acupuncture therapy for Veterans for several months now. I am not always able to attend which makes one thing very clear, on the weeks that I do receive treatment I experience less pain, fewer tension headaches, neck and shoulder tightness and most importantly, consume less medication. Thanks Cyndi for donating your time, your compassion and your expertise to boost the Quality of Life serving those of us that served our Nation
Grateful & Relieved
Kevin – RKW – U.S. Navy – MM1/ELT/SS/SCW (Retired)
Mill Spring, NC.