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Therapy: There is Help for Military Personnel

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Members of the Armed Forces may come to a place where they need therapy for a particular reason. There are services available to them that address various causes for this need. Whether it is a physical or psychological need, VA benefits provide the assistance that is necessary to return patients to some level of good health. These therapies are among the first steps taken in treating various conditions.

 Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is one of the most common therapies offered to military personnel. These treatment programs are to aid in the recovery of those who have become incapacitated as a result of a sickness or injury.  The programs concentrate on developing and implementing a treatment plan that will assist the person with adjusting to their disabilities, becoming self-reliant again and getting them ready to go back to into the field.

Physical therapy begins with a series of evaluations that will allow your healthcare professional to create a plan that’s specifically designed for you. You will go over your physical and mental health history extensively, and there will be postural and gait analyses. After the initial consultations, there will be tests run on you your muscle strength and range of motions.

Treatments used in physical therapy include gait, flexibility and strength training, aerobic conditioning and maybe even an exercise program designed for you to use at home. There are also a series of hands on treatments that include but are not limited to: deep tissue therapy, therapeutic massage, pelvic stabilization, various joint therapies and electrical stimulation.

Physical therapy also addresses the use of prosthetics. The therapy is to assist the amputee with improving circulation, skin health, sensation and strength and endurance. Case-specific plans are included and designed to increase the patient’s mobility, range of motion, and for rehabilitation. Physical therapy for amputees is also used to teach the patient how to function without their prosthetic limbs and how to care for them.

The Use of Art Therapy for PTSD

Art therapy is the use of creative expression to improve the patient’s physical, emotional, and psychological health. It is used to treat PTSD and other types of trauma from which military personnel may suffer. This stress reducing therapy helps patients find solutions to their problems, manage their behavior, and rebuild their self-esteem. Healthcare professionals analyze the artwork and use the underlying messages being relayed through it to develop case-specific treatment plans.

This form of therapy is especially beneficial for military personnel who are suffering from some form of trauma. It allows them to express themselves in another way, when it may be difficult to express in words. Art therapy allows the patient to explore their emotions on a deeper level. It’s a form of self-discovery and understanding. It promotes healthy emotions and reduces the effects that trauma can have on the psyche.

Addiction Therapy

Many members of the armed forces find themselves battling addiction. Events that take place during active duty or a difficulty adapting to life upon their release may cause them to become dependent on drugs and/or alcohol as a coping mechanism. It’s usually an attempt to escape the lasting psychological effects of military life. Bouts with nightmares and constantly being assaulted by their own memories, they search for a hiding place and find it in the numbing effects of substance abuse.

Addiction therapy focuses on addressing the underlying issues that led to the dependency in the first place, such as trauma and depressive experiences. Individual plans are created based on the emotional health and service experiences of the patients. Treatment for addiction includes but is not limited to counseling, acupuncture, mediation and meditation, stress and anger management and sometime even massage therapy.

Therapy for Military Sexual Trauma

  • One of the specialized fields of therapy for military personnel is the treatment of MST. Military Sexual Trauma is the result of unwanted and unsolicited sexual behavior during service. This includes physical contact, sexually offensive remarks and sexual advances. The term is used to refer to repeated sexual assault and harassment experienced by both sexes. MST is a psychological disorder.
  • MST can result in a variety of things. Feelings of depression are not uncommon in service members suffering from the disorder. Military Sexual Trauma can also lead to problems in relationships, physical health, and sleeping. Sufferers are also constantly under attack by memories of the sexual trauma itself.
  • Treatment for MST is provided after various screenings to determine the severity of the condition. Intervention is the first step in treating the disorder. The therapy that is used to in the instance is more psychological than anything. It includes supportive counseling to aid in improving the patient’s emotional state, helping them to find positive coping mechanisms, and aiding them in dealing with feelings of rage, fear, and self-blame.

These are just a few of the therapy programs that are used to assist military personnel. There are programs that offer aid in improving physical, emotional, and mental health. Being treated by medical staff that specializes in dealing with military personnel and military health issues is a sure way to get on the road to recovery. Whether you are active duty or retired, make use of the therapy services that are made available.