PTSD TherapiesHere is my list of PTSD Therapies which I have researched so far. This is an on-going project so as more things become available, I will be adding them here. Also if anyone has anything that they feel would be beneficial, please let me know. I would be happy to have any additional information so as to help as many people as possible.
PTSD and Antidepressants. Please be aware that antidepressants may not be the best and certainly not the only choice for treating PTSD. Many antidepressants can actually cause more suicidal thoughts. I strongly suggest you do your own homework on any antidepressants prescribed, and if necessary, get a second opinion on their use. This is particularly important when more than one antidepressant is prescribed.
HBOT - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, otherwise known as HBOT for short, is a therapy which is being used with great
success on many different disorders including PTSD and TBI's. This quote comes from the website of the
International Hyperbaric Medical Association;
The brain needs good nutrition and when it is damaged, the need becomes even greater. Take a long hard look at nutrition levels and if possible, make some changes. Fast food is not a healthy diet. The ideal diet is one which is composed mainly of vegetables and fruit with some whole grains and fats. Lean meats and dairy foods and eggs are good but in moderation. Changing the diet of a lifetime is not always easy and you may get less than enthusiastic comments about different meals. However, there are ways to do this and it will benefit the whole family and not just the PTSD effects.
As I started writing this, I saw that the USDA had produced new dietary guidlines. They are available in PDF format at USDA Dietary Guidelines
Vitamins and Minerals
The injured brain also could use extra doses of vitamins and minerals. Due to the way that our food is produced, many of our foods are low in essential vitamins and minerals, including trace minerals.
EFT - Emotional Freedon Technique
I heard about Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) many years ago.
I began doing meditation many years ago and I found it to be helpful, especially in stressful situations. There are many programs available on the Internet. Some are free and some are expensive. Do you research and see what might work for you. Here is one link to a free site.
We all know about the benefits of exercise. I doubt there is anyone in the US, if you have a TV or read any
magazines, that has not heard about the good effects of exercise on the body and the brain. It is well
documented that exercise helps the release of endorphins which in turn encourage feelings of well-being and
also helps in the reduction of perceived pain. Not only that but it boosts the production of serotonin which
helps with depression and mood.
Good sleep is essential for healing of the brain as well as the healing of all physical injuries. If you have ever had an injured cat or dog, you will know that they want to sleep and sleep. It is natures way of allowing the body to heal.
I know what you are saying, How can we sleep when the nights are hideous with nightmares? This is a severe problem with PTSD and unfortunately there is no quick fix. However, by using some of the therapies suggested here, the nightmares should diminish.
Rapid Eye Technology - RET and EMDR
Rapid Eye Technology, RET for short, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, EMDR for short, are other therapies which are not well known and little used. However, they are painless, easy to learn and use, and RET can actually be learned and done at home. EMDR is done with a therapist.
RET was developed here in Oregon and appears to be used more on the west coast. However, practitioners can be found all over the US and sessions can be taught over the phone. EMDR was developed in California.
A good comparison of the two therapies can be found at Rapid Eye Technology.
Good information on the effects of EMDR for Veterans can be found at EMDR Institute
Toxins and the effects of toxic chemical contact.
Many of our military are exposed to a load of toxic chemicals and these chemicals can stay lodged in the body and brain. We are all familiar with the stories of the burn pits and the horrible effects that those who worked there are dealing with. I would be very surprised to know that any of our Veterans are free of toxins. I have found at least one way to help get rid of these toxins, and this is by taking a substance from seaweed, known as Modifilan.
As I understand it the substances in this seaweed can bind to toxins so that they are cleared from the body. It appears that this substance was used to treat people in Russia after the Chernobyl disaster. As the price is fairly moderate, I would think this would be worth trying.
Information and pricing can be found at Modifilan Seaweed Extract. This company is located in Seattle WA.
We take light for granted but over the past few years, light therapy has become more mainstream. The VA may even provide a light box for those affected with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or depression. At the very least, changing over to full spectrum light bulbs may be a good idea as the whole family will benefit.
Biofeedback is another therapy that is hitting mainstream medicine. It is described well on the website of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback Inc.
From the website of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback;
Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately "feed back" information to the user. The presentation of this information - often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior - supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.
Their rather technical website can be found here, where they have an information page for consumers.
BAUD and NLP
I have been reading about another little known therapy called Bio Acoustical Utilization Device or
BAUD for short. It was developed by Dr. Frank Lawlis. There is an interesting website about the BAUD at
I have no personal experience with this therapy but it appears to show promise.
NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is another mind-therapy which is being talked about and used. However, I cannot find any documentation to say that it is effective. That is not to say that it may not help, but bear in mind that there are still snake-oil salesmen about. Be wary of people offering computer programs or DVD's offering to 'change your life'.
Acupuncture is reported to be one of the oldest medical procedures in the world and is used extensively in China. It has slowly made its way into the western world and is now recognized as a component part of complimentary medicine. It can be a very helpful therapy for pain control in particular.
A good description of acupuncture, along with some interesting short videos are available at
It may be useful to ask if there are any free acupuncture clinics near you. I know we have some here in Oregon and I only found out about this by pure chance while at the VA.
A Service Dog is a dog who provides a specific service or services for its owner. It is not a pet or a therapy dog. Service Dogs are allowed where other animals are not. Federal law allows service dogs on planes, buses, trains, in all stores and restaurants, just to name a few.
More and more Veterans are getting Service Dogs and every time we go to the VA with our Service Dog, Lexi, we run into many other dogs.
Here are some good links for information. Service Dogs have been used with people suffering from PTSD with great success.
There are some special programs designed for those with PTSD. This is what I have found so far.
Rivers of Recovery (ROR) is a leading provider of recreation-based interventions for the treatment of physical and psychological injuries of war. ROR is an amalgamation of recreational therapy, low-impact confidence-building outdoor activities, breathing and relaxation techniques and coping and resiliency skill-building. ROR's world-class retreats provide a positive and enjoyable environment where small groups of veterans learn new skills, reconnect with nature and reconnect with other combat wounded. Our curriculum is designed by prominent medical experts and supervised by licensed recreational therapists and medically-trained staff. Rivers of Recovery is effective treatment integrated into a life-changing, outdoor experience.
As I mentioned at the top of this page, this is a work in progress. I will add things as I hear about them. I appreciate any additions or comments on anything I have listed here.
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This page updated 2013