A Vietnam Veteran walked into my office at one of the VA’s top inpatient residential posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) programs as a last-ditch effort to save his marriage. He said very little in our initial interactions, and the stress of the years working hard to provide for his family alongside many sleepless nights had settled into dark patches under his eyes and grime beneath his fingernails. His outpatient therapist referred him to the program to receive an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. He was quickly assigned to the Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) group and to supplemental individual CPT sessions with me.
Blog posts with the tag "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder"
It was happening again. Following another humid South Carolina rain, I sat beside my 6-year old sister, Trinh, who was having a “spell” – what we now know was some type of re-experiencing or panic attack - likely related to her boat escape from Vietnam just 10 days following the fall of Saigon. At the time, I could only do what my 5-year old self thought was best. Hold her hand, get the dog, tell her everything was going to be alright and wait for the spell to pass
In the wake of Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides last month and the news surrounding their deaths, I can’t help but wonder if stigma about getting mental health care may have deterred these talented individuals from seeking the help they deserved. These tragic events also led me to rethink stigma and its impact on Service members and Veterans.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is one of the gold-standard treatments available to adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and remains a first-line recommended treatment in the latest VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder (DVA & DoD, 2017). CPT is a robust and flexible treatment in that it can be delivered with or without a written trauma account, in person or via tele-health, and individually or in group format. Dozens of randomized control trials and effectiveness trials demonstrate that CPT is one of the most effective treatments for PTSD in both civilian and military-connected populations.
In late 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs in conjunction with the Department of Defense published an update to their practice guidelines for the management of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This two-part blog will highlight the major recommendations of the new practice guideline: part 1 will focus on recommendations for screening and assessment and part 2 will focus on treatment considerations. Although we hope that these blogs help to clarify the major elements of the new guideline, we strongly suggest that all clinicians review the guideline for themselves. The full guideline as well as the Clinician Summary and Pocket Guide can all be viewed and downloaded in PDF format here.