Posts Tagged ‘Emory Healthcare Veterans Program’

Bridging Access to PTSD Care in Primary Care

soldier hugs fatherEmory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP) is known for its innovative research when it comes to treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now the team behind the research is working to make treatment more accessible nationwide. In her role as Director of Mental Health Research and Program Evaluation at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dr. Sheila Rauch, EHVP’s Clinical Director, works to make PTSD care more accessible within the VA by utilizing a version of prolonged exposure for embedded mental health workers in primary care.

After demonstrating the effectiveness of the protocol to reduce PTSD symptoms in primary care, Dr. Rauch designed a program to train primary care mental health providers so they are better prepared to help patients struggling with PTSD.

“PTSD is a disorder of avoidance; any hurdle to receiving care could be a reason someone seeking help will go back to avoiding, so we are working to reduce barriers to care. There is no wrong door, we want to assist everyone who comes in looking to treat their PTSD and we want to do it as soon and as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Rauch.

“There is still a large population of those with PTSD who do not seek care, so we are working to find ways to provide treatment that is not only effective but also can be accessed quickly because this population will most likely not follow through with treatment the first time they reach out.”

What is Prolonged Exposure Therapy?

Prolonged exposure therapy involves working with patients to help them approach the memories and reminders of trauma so that they are the ones in control of their lives—not the trauma. PTSD is a disorder of avoidance and prolonged exposure therapy gives the patient the tools needed to approach the memory and the people, places and situations they had been avoiding.

“At its bones, the treatment is simple relearning, doing what you are afraid of over and over again and it gets easier,” said Dr. Rauch.

Three common components of prolonged exposure therapy are:

  • Psychoeducation
  • Imaginal Exposure
  • In Vivo

Psychoeducation provides a foundation of information on how PTSD develops and how treatment works. This foundation helps the patient and provider speak the same language and lets the patient begin to learn how to approach instead of avoid.

During imaginal exposure, the patient is asked to narrate the feared situation to the clinician multiple times. This narration is an important step because it allows the patient to finally process the trauma that occurred and understand why it was so disarming in the first place.

In Vivo (a Latin phrase translated as “in the living”) is a method used to take the tools learned during therapy sessions into a real-world setting. If the patient is working to overcome a fear of driving, for example, an in vivo session may include the clinician and patient driving through Atlanta traffic.

All three components of prolonged exposure therapy work together to help patients overcome the fear of the traumatic experience and begin processing what they had been avoiding for so long.

What Does a Prolonged Exposure Primary Care Session Look Like?

Prolonged exposure primary care (PE-PC) includes four to eight 30-minute sessions provided in primary care as opposed to specialty mental health. Since most people suffering with PTSD prefer to receive their care in a primary care setting with the providers they know, this option really increases access to effective PTSD care. The treatment can also be conducted through telehealth (a web-based platform) to increase reach.

“We are setting up a process to reach patients where they are instead of waiting for them to come to us because any hurdle could become a reason to go back to avoiding care,” said Dr. Rauch.

Emory Healthcare Veterans Program

EHVP provides expert, collaborative care for post-9/11 veterans and service members in the United States, regardless of discharge status. Conditions treated include PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, depression and anxiety. Learn more about the program by calling 888-514-5345 or visiting the website at emoryhealthcare.org/veterans.

To learn more about the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and stay updated, sign up for our newsletter.

 

How to Support Veterans with PTSD During 4th of July

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, so please be mindful, 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 Veteran Outreach Coordinators to educate your organization about PTSD. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact us at 1-888-514-5345.

2. Be Aware:

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

3. Know the facts:

A high percentage of Veterans and servicemembers suffer from PTSD.  Treatment is available and very successful.

If you or a loved one is a post 9/11 Veteran or servicemember who struggles with symptoms of PTSD, TBI, depression or anxiety please contact one of our care coordinators the Emory Veterans Program Care Coordinators at 1-888-514-5345.

Dr. Rauch, Clinical Director of Emory Healthcare Veteran’s Program, talks about Veterans reintegration and mental health.

Most servicemembers will have some type of adjustment period after returning home from deployment. For each person the process is different depending on different variables during and after deployment. Mental health issues, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma can make that even more difficult. The Emory Veterans Program is here to help them reclaim their lives.

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?

sheila-rauch-avatar

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.

 

Learn more about the Integrated Memory Care ClinicOr call for more information 1-888-514-5345

The Impact of Brain Injury on Veterans

Nearly 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)

 

 

Learn more about the Integrated Memory Care Clinic

Call for more information, call 888-514-5345

You’re Not Alone: A Mental Health Message for our Veterans

Veterans are 15x more likely to suffer from PTSD. If you have a service-related mental health issue, you’re not alone. Get help today.Our veterans and service members are some of the most brave men and women in our country. They’re passionate and disciplined when it comes to protecting and serving our country, which is a commitment we’re grateful for every day.

The invisible wounds of war

That bravery continues off duty as well — many carry the heavy weight of the sights and experiences they encountered while serving. Consider these statistics:

  • 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • A 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study found PTSD to be 15 times more likely for veterans and service members compared to civilians. The same report found depression to occur 5 times more frequently among military members than civilians.
  • The same study from JAMA found 1 in 4 active duty military members suffer from a mental health condition.

PTSD, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST) and other mental health conditions can all occur as a result of military service. And, these health issues are every bit as serious as injuries we can see.

Healing these wounds

Our veterans and service members need access to quality mental health programs. They also need to know it’s okay to talk about their experiences. If someone you love may be suffering from a mental health issue, please check in with them regularly. Ask them how they’re doing and be ready to simply listen.

If you’re a veteran or service member suffering from any mental health symptom or condition, please reach out for help. Talk to a friend, family member or fellow veteran. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. You should never be embarrassed to get treatment for a mental health issue.

Honor our veterans and service members this Veterans Day by sharing this message with others. You can also help change the way the world sees mental health by taking the stigma-free pledge.

Do you want to learn more about the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program?

Yes, I want to learn more now.

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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