Veterans Program

PTSD Awareness Day- June 27th

ptsd-squareJune 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. With summer here and the 4th of July around the corner, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program would like to remind you that fireworks can cause discomfort for our combat veterans. Good times for you can be agonizing for them, please be mindful and courteous and take the time to educate yourself and your family about PTSD.

1. Learn:

There are many resources available to learn about PTSD. Emory Healthcare Veterans Program would be happy to send one of our veterans to educate your organization PTSD. If you desire to have this opportunity please contact Gretchen Evans at 404.727.8325 or by email: gretchen.evans@emoryhealthcare.org

If you or a loved one is a post 9/11 veteran who struggles with symptons of PTSD, TBI or other depression or anxiety disorders please contact the Emory Veterans Program Care Coordinator at 1-888-514-5345.

2. Be Aware:

Find out if any of your neighbors are combat veterans and if they are inform them that you will be celebrating with fireworks so that they will not be surprised and can have the opportunity prepare themselves. They do not wish to ruin your fun, but this allows them to make other arrangements if necessary.

3. Know the facts:

Know that a high percentage of veterans suffer from PTSD. Know that treatment is available and that treatment is very successful.

If you or a loved one is a post 9/11 veteran who struggles with symptoms of PTSD, TBI or other depression or anxiety disorders please contact the Emory Veterans Program Care Coordinator at 1-888-514-5345.

The Impact of Brain Injury on Veterans

brain-injury250x250Nearly 20% of deployed military personnel experience traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs are any brain injury caused by an outside force. These injuries can be “closed,” such as from a fall or motor vehicle accident or “open,” like from a gunshot wound.

Traumatic brain injuries range broadly from mild to severe. People with mild TBI (also called concussion) often fully recover within days to weeks, while those with severe TBI may have significant and sometimes permanent impairments. Fortunately, 70 – 90% of all TBIs in military personnel fall within the “mild” range.

Symptoms of Mild TBI

Traumatic brain injury can cause physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties.

Typical symptoms of mild TBI/concussion include:

  • Looking and feeling dazed
  • Being uncertain of what is happening; feeling confused
  • Having difficulty thinking clearly or responding correctly to simple questions
  • Being unable to describe events immediately before or after the injury occurred

Complications of Mild TBI

Although most with mild TBIs fully recover within a matter of days, a small percentage have symptoms that persist for months or even years. What causes this? Research shows outside factors may interfere with the brain’s recovery. What begins as a neurologic injury is complicated by other non-neurologic factors, such as chronic pain, side effects of medicines and psychological distress—all of which cause similar symptoms to TBI.

These outside factors are commonly experienced by veterans because in many cases their brain injuries were the result of a blast that also injured other parts of their bodies. In addition to their physical pain, injured veterans also commonly experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and depression.

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Not Alone

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. They work to build awareness of the condition and support individuals with brain injuries and their families.

Help for Veterans with TBI

Emory Healthcare Veterans Program offers expert and collaborative care to help heal the invisible wounds of war. Our comprehensive approach combines psychiatry, neurology, rehabilitative medicine and family support to help veterans reintegrate and reclaim their lives.

A coordinated treatment plan may include:

  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Education about typical recovery and common barriers
  • Management of orthopaedic injuries and chronic pain
  • Medication management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Complementary medicine (yoga, meditation, acupuncture, sleep medicine)

If you or someone you know suffers from TBI, we can help. Call us at 888-514-5345 or fill out an online request to have someone from the Emory Veterans Program contact you.

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Takeaways from Dr. Rauch’s Live Chat on Veterans Reintegration and Mental Health

vet-ptsd-allchatThank you to everyone who joined us on November 10, for our live chat on “Veterans Reintegration and Mental Health” hosted by Sheila Rauch, Ph. D., clinical director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program.

We had many good questions submitted by veterans and their loved ones, and we hope that you found the discussion informative. If you missed the chat or are interested in reviewing all of Dr. Rauch’s answers, you can view the chat transcript.

Below are a few highlights:

Question:
How long does it usually take to adjust to normal life again? How long should I wait to see someone if I’m still not feeling like my normal self?

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Dr. Rauch:
That is a good question. If at any time you’re having issues that you feel that you need or want help with, you should come see us. Readjustment often takes a year, and for some people longer, to feel like they’re really back in their life. The readjustment process is different for every individual and often depends on life’s variables, such as your job, social support and your family. It’s never too early to come talk with someone familiar with military service and deployment about your experience. Reintegration can be a difficult process. Mental health issues, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma can make that even harder. The Emory Veterans Program is here to help you reclaim your life.

Question:
My brother has seemed moody and depressed since he got back. Is there a good way for me to help him or encourage him to talk to someone about how he’s feeling?

sheila-rauch-avatarDr. Rauch:
It is common for returning veterans to have problems talking with people who have not deployed. While most veterans returning don’t have mental health issues, a significant minority may have problems with depression, posttraumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. Letting your brother know that you’re willing to listen or help is probably the best thing you can do. Sometimes it just takes patience to allow someone to open up.

 

To learn more about Emory’s Veterans Program, visit our website and view the summary video. To make an appointment, call 888-514-5345.

Veterans Reintegration and Mental Health Live Chat

vet-ptsd-chatAre you experiencing a difficult reintegration process after returning from a military deployment? Are you a spouse or loved one with questions about how to best prepare for a service member’s return home and how to navigate this joyful yet stressful time?

Join Dr. Sheila Rauch, clinical director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, for a live web chat Tuesday, November 10 at 12pm EST. You can ask questions and get real answers regarding PTSD, military deployment-related stress, and the complexities of reintegration. Register for this live chat here. 

When a deployed service member returns home, reintegration with friends and loved ones can be difficult; profoundly more so for those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Among other things, the contrast between a service member’s expectations upon returning home and what he or she actually experiences can create stress for everyone involved. Mental health issues, including PTSD, depression, substance misuse, grief, anger, and even suicide, may arise during this reintegration process. While any or all of these issues could occur, excellent treatment resources are available through the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and the VA.

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Takeaways from Dr. Rothbaum’s Live Chat on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and how it affects veterans

ptsd-cil-747Thank you to everyone who joined us on September 22, for our live chat on “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: How It Affects Veterans and Treatment Options That Can Lead to a Better Life” hosted by Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., director of Emory’s Veterans Program. There were some great questions and we hope you found the discussion informative. If you missed the chat or are interested in reviewing all of Dr. Rothbaum’s answers, you can view the chat transcript here. Below are a few highlights:

Question: Can you have PTSD even though you didn’t see combat?

Rothbaum_BarbaraDr. Rothbaum: Absolutely. PTSD can result from any event in which someone felt that they or someone they care about could be seriously injured or killed. Sexual assault survivors, motor vehicle crash survivors, natural disaster survivors, and many many others develop PTSD. Approximately 10% of the US population at any given time has PTSD, and most of this is not from combat.

 

Question: What treatment options do you offer besides talking to a counselor? Talking has got me no where.

Rothbaum_BarbaraDr. Rothbaum: Good question. We offer what are known as evidence based treatments for PTSD, meaning that controlled studies have shown that these treatments work. “Talking therapy” alone is not one of the treatments that has been shown to work for PTSD. At Emory’s Veterans Program, we are offering Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRE), and others, as well as pharmacotherapy and the combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. We are offering two tiers of treatment: Tier I are the evidenced based treatments, and Tier II are more innovative treatments for folks who don’t receive an adequate response from Tier I treatments. You can learn more about the treatment options available at http://emoryhealthcare.org/veterans-program/treatments-services/index.html

To learn more about Emory’s Veterans Program, visit our website and view the summary video. To make an appointment, call 888-514-5345