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Thursday, June 21, 2012

I was talking to a Vet Center counselor the other day about these manualized 8 to 12 week therapies for PTSD which some VA's are using now and calling a cure.
I don't like the word cure in relation to PTSD.
I really believe that these therapies do cause remission of very painful and troubling PTSD symptoms for a while. When they have 20 year follow-ups with no return of symptoms on all the participants, I will take it back. Meanwhile, the only person I have met who went through one of these programs and was "cured" and wanted to give a talk at a reunion, decided that they weren't treating him right, so instead of asking the organizers for the equipment he wanted, he never contacted them and just stayed drunk all weekend. Didn't seem like a cure to me.
To change the habits of a lifetime can take the rest of your life, and if the habits were learned to save your life, it will be hard to give them up.
One thing the Vet Center counselor said to me was that if someone told the mother of a young person killed in Iraq or Afghanistan that she could cure her grief in 8 to 12 weeks, everyone would be up in arms. Here are men and women who have lost more than one buddy (closer than family if you have been in combat together) and you are going to cure that grief, plus the pain of killing, the anger at waste of lives, the fear of dying, all that in 12 weeks???
I am not saying not to try out this kind of therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, because I have heard it explained and seen the positive changes it produced in a workshop I went to. What I am saying is that if it helps, and then PTSD rears it's ugly head again, go back and do more.
That's what will help if symptoms come back: More of what helped before. Don't believe for one moment that you are a hopeless case. Get more help. People are always developing new treatments for PTSD. Your job is to find what works for you.

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