Combining Therapies Could Help PTSD Patients More

Every week, it seems, there are new reports about the dangers and traumas related to the war in Afghanistan. As our military presence there dwindles over the next two years, more and more combat-weary soldiers will be returning home. Many of those men and women will bring home invisible wounds in the form of PTSD.

A recent study suggests that in addition to already established PTSD therapies, other treatments could be added to augment patient responsiveness. Two treatments in particular were examined in the military-based study: Guided Imagery and Healing Touch technique. These treatments have been used successfully to treat surgery patients and have been successful in helping to manage pain. This study sought to determine if the treatments could benefit PTSD sufferers in overcoming symptoms of the condition.

The study followed 123 active Marines with at least one identified symptom of PTSD. Some of the Marines received standard treatment only while others received standard treatment plus guided imagery and healing touch therapies. The study found that soldiers who received the complimentary treatments fared better than soldiers who did not. Soldiers who used guided imagery and healing touch reported higher degrees of satisfaction with life, were more optimistic in general and struggled less with depression than did Marines who did not receive the additional therapies.

There is a great deal of hesitancy on the part of soldiers to step forward and ask for help with PTSD. Fears about stigma and what impact admitting their struggle may have on their career keep many from admitting their inward battle. For those willing to seek out treatment, the most successful strategies need to be available. This study indicates that combining therapies could become a new gold standard in caring for war veterans.