Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Is PTSD Only for Military Members?


Hi, this is Virginia with the Soldier's Guide to PTSD, and I want to talk about rumors about PTSD that are absolutely not true and just screw with your head.

A rumor I often hear is that PTSD is only for military members, combat Veterans, or trigger pullers. Sometimes, I'll hear people say, "I don't deserve to have PTSD."

Many civilians believe that only military members can suffer from PTSD, and within the ranks many service members believe that only ops folks can have PTSD.

For military members, some of the things I hear time and again are, "I can't have PTSD because I never left the FOB," "I can't have PTSD because I never fired my weapon,"" or I can't have PTSD because my convoy never got schwacked."

So that's not a thing; that is fundamentally not how PTSD works. This is just a quick blog post, but suffice to say that your body and brain reacts the same way every single time your convoy leaves the wire, whether you get schwacked or not. You don't have to be a trigger pulling, pipe hitting, mother-trucker for PTSD to whoop your ass.

There's also the idea that PTSD is reserved for people who have "earned it." This often sounds like, "I don't deserve to have PTSD," "at least I came home in one piece," or "my trauma was a combat related."

Let's have some real talk for a minute. I don't deserve to have the flu. I'm a really nice person and I help people. The flu doesn't care about that. No one deserves to have malaria or HIV or schizophrenia, but we don't get a choice. PTSD is same-same.

Let's work together to dispel rumors about PTSD and encourage others to get the help they need to reclaim their lives.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

#1 Rumor About PTSD that is Not True


Hi this is Virginia with the Soldier's Guide to PTSD and I want to talk to you today about rumors about PTSD that are absolutely not true and just screw with your head.

"PTSD has no cure." This is the #1 rumor I hear from Veterans and even other clinicians. 

Add to this, "I'll always have PTSD and I'll never get better." 

This is such a widely held belief that many folks give up before getting started. The truth is that there are three evidence-based treatments for PTSD that are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs at the time I am writing this: prolonged exposure, cognitive processing therapy, and EMDR. They've all been proven to work for most people.

It's important to use an evidence-based treatment for PTSD because evidence-based treatments are based on peer-reviewed, scientific evidence. This means that researchers conduct studies using scientific methods, document the research in peer reviewed scientific journals, and then other researchers conduct additional scientific studies to see if the treatment is, in fact, successful.

This is a lot like how drugs are tested by the FDA. Double-blind, randomized trials over a very long period with lots of scrutiny. When a therapy method is recognized as an evidence-based treatment, it's a big deal.

There are folks who are labeled as "treatment resistant," meaning that these three evidence-based treatments haven't worked for them. For this, researchers have found alternative treatments, like these MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and faith-based treatments. 

The bottom line is it evidence-based treatments work most of the time for most people and it doesn't matter how you feel because that's science

Hear this. Nothing and no one can convince you something is true if you strongly believe it is not. That's science, too.