We're going to mix things up a bit this week. Instead of our usual one topic, we're going to take a quick look at a series of relevant stories from around the web. The articles we'll be looking are:
Prolonged exposure therapy is more effective in treating veterans with PTSD, alcohol use disorder: A recent study by the VA San Diego Healtcare System shows that Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is an effective treatment for patients with PTSD and problem drinking. This is especially relevant given that "55% to 75% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving care through VA who had an alcohol or substance use disorder als had a PTSD or depression diagnosis." This question frequently comes up during our PE training. The researchers involved in the study suggest that PE "should be offered to patients with PTSD whenever possible, including to patients with alcohol use disorder."
If you'd like to learn more about PE, click here to visit the PE section of our site. Also, CDP regularly offer two-day training events for clinicians interested in learning the protocol. You can find a schedule of upcoming events here.
Virtual Reality as Therapy for Pain: Chronic pain is another wide-spread issue with Service members and Veterans. With the increasingly awareness of the dangers of the opioid epidemic, alternative treatments to traditional medication are becoming more and mroe widespread. One recent trend is the use of virtual reality to augment existing methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy. The virutal environment can provide a soothing place for patients to exercise and learn coping techniques they can use outside of VR in their everyday life. For more information on Chronic Pain, click here.
Frustrations mount over lack of progress on preventing veterans’ suicide: Despite increased focus and effort put into combating suicides by Veterans, progress remains inconsistent and elusive.Spending on programs to prevent suicide has doubled since 2005, but over the past 10 years, the suicide rate among Veterans has remained around 20 per day. However, "Democrats and Republicans in the House are pledging to try and fix that in coming months, launching a series of hearings and legislative pushes to address the lingering problem"
For more interesting and useful links, be sure to check out the weekly CDP Research Update every Thursday!