Online Program

Veteran Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness, Treatment, and Recovery Alternative Models

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Elizabeth Kowalik, Student, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Emily Thomesen, Student, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Lauren Fiske, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Shaylah Morse, Student, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Elizabeth-Ann Viscione, Student, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
This presentation will discuss the initial causation, defining symptoms, and consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This presentation will contain statistics and epidemiology of PTSD incidence, as well as the financial implications involving veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The current pharmacologic treatments will be presented with current research outcomes. The pharmacologic options available are not always effective for veterans, indicating the need for the exploration of new treatment options. The emerging alternative treatments and their evidence of effectiveness in PTSD will be the primary objective of this presentation. The alternative therapies that will be discussed based on promising results include: mindfulness based meditation, yoga, and acupuncture. One of the alternative approaches with significant research is the practice of acupuncture. In 2009 a randomized experimental trail conducted with veterans diagnosed with PTSD experienced significant improvements of mental health when they received acupuncture following treatment, compared to those that did not undergo an acupuncture treatment. The treatment group was found to have improved outcomes. Acupuncture treatment has been shown to support recovery, including relief of various sympotoms such as: insomnia, headaches, and memory problems. With the vast number of co-morbidities existing in these returning veterans, there is a high rate of drug abuse. This further illustrates the need for the integration of these emerging alternative treatments. This presentation will also address the challenges facing the accessibility of these services for veterans, including breaking down stigma barriers through community outreach. Finally, this presentation will propose an interdisciplinary approach outlining the implementation of these alternative practices. This plan includes the perspective of a variety of health professionals. The interventions suggest a cooperative approach to bridge treatment gaps and social barriers to treatment. The goal of these proposed interventions is to offer new approaches to assist veterans suffering with PTSD recovery by improving outcomes, and lowering financial and social burdens.

Learning Areas:

Clinical medicine applied in public health
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Define the challenges facing the current treatment success of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Compare current and new treatment options focusing on pharmacotherapy, mindfulness based stress reduction, yoga, and acupuncture. Formulate a interdisciplinary proposal to integrate the available treatments into a holistic approach, while working to break down negative stigma barriers.

Keyword(s): Alternative and Complementary Health, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a fourth year pharmacy student in the top of my class. I will be graduating in 2017. I have researched PTSD and the available treatments extensively with the four other authors. As a member of this author group, I attended and presented this topic at conference last year. My scientific interests involve the integration of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments in psychologic disorders.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.