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Question For Those In Long-Term Treatment For Ptsd

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Question for those of you who've been fighting PTSD for a while now and are still seeking treatment: I've been in treatment since February of last year; the first nine months was with the OIF/OEF clinic basically zeroing in on my diagnosis and just going over coping mechanisms.

Last fall they moved me over to the mental health unit. I went to the in-processing class and they basically gave us a menu of what kind of treatment we wanted.

Well I got put into the Cognitive Processing Therapy, which to make a long story short made my symptoms worse. I’ve told everyone who will listen at the VA that I’m eager to get treatment, but going to see a psychologist who wanted me to go over my stressor in graphic detail every week definitely wasn’t helping me.

My wife eventually had me withdraw from it because my deterioration was scaring her.

So I went back and essential got the same menu. About 10 options, all eight to 12 week sessions; I ended up picking a group one that will essentially help you cope with your diagnosis and how it affects your life.

I know the VA is trying to tout a lot of these as cures for PTSD; I’ve looked up CPT and the VA pretty much considers it a cure if you complete all 12 weeks.

For those who have been in treatment for years, does the VA keeping trying to cycle you through this same menu? I’ve heard members mention that they’ve been going to group for years, or seeing the same psychologist every week for years, but all I’m seeing is a express lane for a quick cure.

I just need someone to talk to right now. This isn’t like being scared of heights or elevators, what happened to me is deeply personal and I don’t mind coping with the emotions, but I’m not at a stage where I’m ready for someone to bring it to the surface and pick it apart every week. I’m hoping that this group will help me, but I’m also sacred of being pushed back into one of the more abrasive treatments once this is done.

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"For those who have been in treatment for years, does the VA keeping trying to cycle you through this same menu? I’ve heard members mention that they’ve been going to group for years, or seeing the same psychologist every week for years, but all I’m seeing is a express lane for a quick cure."

If the VA or any Mental Health entity had some cure for PTSD, the VA would be forcing this cure on every PTSD veteran.

There is NO cure.

Have you hooked up with a Vet Center ? When I worked at a vet center as volunteer in the PTSD combat group many years ago there was no "Menu" to chose from.

The group meetings were the only place these vets could get a lot off their chests because no one else out there really understood them. This was in the 1980s. All Nam vets.

The VA ran the center via the Lyons VAMC in NJ , but there were no notes taken nor any type of documentation made, that the VA could see.

This Menu idea of treatment options you mentioned is sort of alarming to me.

I know exactly what you mean here:

"what happened to me is deeply personal and I don’t mind coping with the emotions, but I’m not at a stage where I’m ready for someone to bring it to the surface and pick it apart every week. I’m hoping that this group will help me, but I’m also sacred of being pushed back into one of the more abrasive treatments once this is done."

I recall one night when a PTSD vet center vet called for a special meeting at the center.He called me to see if I would be there as this was the first time in almost 20 years he was going to reveal his main stressor.

he already had SC for PTSD from the VA.This was something he had never told the VA about.

Same thing with my husband. He wouldn't tell VA much, and he told me more stuff 'except for the really horrible things.' I couldnt imagine anything worse than what I knew. But I knew he kept a lot in too.

A PTSD vet who suffers from flashbacks, already deals with their stressors often on a daily and even hourly basis when the stressors are triggered. They dont need to be revealing this stuff over and over again to anyone.

I guess some shrinks think that actively reliving those stressors and vocalizing them can make one numb to them.

Hell PTSD numbs the soul as it is...that idea does not work and it excerbates PTSD greatly.

Our Military claims they are addressing PTSD in theatre these days. Yeah right. Does that mean they are giving AD men and women with PTSD a "Menu"?

Have you talked to your patient advocate to see if you can get one to one PTSD therapy? or is this sometimes one to one now?

I posted a recent news article on how the Army is clamming up over FOIAs that want to know more about how some Mil docs are downgrading PTSD.

My opinion is that both the Military and the VA are making visible efforts to appear to treat PTSD , and at the same time are finding ways to save money spent in compensation for PTSD.

Is there a way you can describe these options? Can you scan them and attach them here?

Or give us the title of any written stuff they gave you...maybe I can google it....

Cover any personal identifying stuff first if you scan and attach anything.

I have great concerns for you OEF men and women.

Our grateful nation owes you all quite a debt for your sacrifices and for your PTSD.

We have vets here still trying to collect that debt from their Vietnam War service.

You veterans are the future of hadit here....we all have to help each other get through the VAs ridiculous and arbitrary claims process.

And many here are PTSD vets too.

They will be responding to you as well.

What is the status of your VA claim if you have filed one yet?

Our PTSD forum has the new 2010 PTSD criteria in it.I just bumped that info up.

"Last fall they moved me over to the mental health unit. I went to the in-processing class"

Do you mind telling us where that was?

Edited by Berta

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"Do you mind telling us where that was?"

http://www.augusta.va.gov/about/

I'm being seen at the Charlie Norwood VAMC in Augusta, Georgia. I believe they only have one psychiatrist for the main clinic, because I've heard had several appointments cancelled because she had to backfill the emergency ward. Basically everyone I know who goes to Charlie Norwood sees this same psychiatrist.

"If the VA or any Mental Health entity had some cure for PTSD, the VA would be forcing this cure on every PTSD veteran."

The VA is touting Cognitive Processing Therapy (what I spent 4 weeks in) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy as cures. Maybe not to the older vets but for the OIF/OEF vets. When they explained what was going to happen in the CPT class I sure as heck didn't check that box, but they put me in it and I lasted three weeks. It acutally made things much worse, so bad that my wife asked me to go inpatient. I can't imagine doing the full 12 weeks, or God forbid, the PET, from what I've read about it, its a nightmare. If not a cure, the VA is atleast trying to use it to get large percentage reductions.

Here's some information on Cognitive Processing Therapy straight from the VA:

http://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/PDF/research/Cognitive%20Processing%20Therapy%20Manual%208.08.pdf

I got to Session 4, I wrote 6 hand written pages, she for the next session go rewrite it in more graphic detail so I could emotionally connect with it. That was the last session for that treatment I went to.

This Menu idea of treatment options you mentioned is sort of alarming to me.

I'll scan it in if its still on my desk.

A PTSD vet who suffers from flashbacks, already deals with their stressors often on a daily and even hourly basis when the stressors are triggered.

I've had more flashbacks and nightmares since I went into CPT. Granted, I don't have them daily, its dependent on triggers, I feel like those 4 weeks dialed up my trigger senestivity meter.

Have you talked to your patient advocate to see if you can get one to one PTSD therapy? or is this sometimes one to one now?

CPT and PET are one on one based.

The new treatment I should start in April or May will be group.

My opinion is that both the Military and the VA are making visible efforts to appear to treat PTSD , and at the same time are finding ways to save money spent in compensation for PTSD.

Exactly.

We have vets here still trying to collect that debt from their Vietnam War service.

That literally breaks my heart. My uncle did 3 tours and eventually died from AO. The stuff I saw and experienced couldn't have been a 1/10th of what he saw on just one tour.

What is the status of your VA claim if you have filed one yet?

Someone filed a claim on my behalf, but I called (and mailed a formal request) today to get a one year extension so I can get everything covered for primary and secondary conditions. No way I could get even half of my material ready in 30-60 days, the way my memory and anxiety is. I can barely hold down my job without having to rush a claim. That and my 12 year mark in the National Guard is coming up, so I'll be able to start the process the year I ETS.

I have my wife travel with me a lot, but I've still got some young troops who depend on me, and I hate to be a quiter before my time is up.

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I agree with Berta. About the only thing that helped me after about 45 years was the Vet Center.I never felt comfortable with the witch doctors. In my opinion they can never relate to what you went through.

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I agree with Berta. About the only thing that helped me after about 45 years was the Vet Center.

I've never heard of the Vet Center. Is it sponsored or at the VAMC? I don't want to drop off the treatment radar at the VA and hurt my claim.

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Someone filed a claim on my behalf, but I called (and mailed a formal request) today to get a one year extension so I can get everything covered for primary and secondary conditions. No way I could get even half of my material ready in 30-60 days, the way my memory and anxiety is. I can barely hold down my job without having to rush a claim. That and my 12 year mark in the National Guard is coming up, so I'll be able to start the process the year I ETS.
Thanks for that link.


By the 30 -60days did you mean you got as VCAA letter you had to respond to in 30-60 days?


If you have a confirmed PTSD diagnosis and fit into the new PTSD criteria (I just bumped it up in the PTSD fporum the other day, I would not worry about
having everything ready too soon.


Do any Vet reps or VSOs ever come to the National Guards places to help direct NG members with their claims?


You might want to read the LOD stuff I posted here today too in claims research....


As a NG member, and a OEF vet , you should be able to get some help at the NG headquarters but then again the NG might be as bad as the Mil
with some of this proper transition stuff.


There is an overwhelming backlog of claims with the VA. Some are taking years to decide.
With all the heat coming from Congress and vet orgs about this long claims process, VA is starting to make more decisions but many are wrong.


I personally think, if you have the concrete PTSD diagnosis from a VA MH doctor (you certainly have the PTSD paper trail with the therapy, and with proof of a stressor or via your MOS and the PTSD regs criteria, you would be better off in my opinion to try to get a vet rep to recind the extension and then just do the best you can to keep this claim in process and not put somewhere on a back burner.

I assume you were incountry OEF, and exposed to hostile fire or near enough for it to have caused you PTSD, and/or you have a different type of stressor that meets this criteria :

Federal Register (74 FR 42617) a proposal to modify the evidentiary standards for establishing an in-service stressor when a veteran files a claim for service connection for PTSD. We proposed to add a new paragraph (3) to 38 CFR 3.304(f) to state that, if a stressor claimed by a veteran is related to the veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity and a VA psychiatrist or psychologist or contract equivalent confirms that the claimed stressor is adequate to support a diagnosis of PTSD and that the veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and provided the claimed stressor is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran's service, the veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor. This evidentiary liberalization is consistent with the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (1994) (DSM-IV) criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, as explained in the notice of proposed rulemaking. The rule further re-designates former paragraph (f)(3) as (f)(4), governing PTSD claims from former prisoners of war, and re-designates paragraph (f)(4) as (f)(5), governing PTSD claims based on in-service personal assault or military sexual trauma (MST)."


“I have my wife travel with me a lot, but I've still got some young troops who depend on me, and I hate to be a quiter before my time is up. “

You aren't a quitter at all in my book......our grateful nation owes you a debt of gratitude.

As I mentioned before here somewhere, many of our Vietnam vets are still not being properly compensated for their sacrifices.

Best to file claims and get them rolling ASAP. I hate to be graphic but I am a hardcore VA claimant and the VA will probably fart around with the claim anyhow ,due to the backlog, and you will have time to gather all the evidence the VCAA letter says you need (and maybe a vet rep could determine what you dont even need to get at all. Your MOS and lay statement might be enough to be consistent with a stressor for VA purposes under this new 2010 regulation.

Edited by Berta

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