Seven Things You Should Never Say to a Vet

Seven Things You Should Never Say to a Vet

Jason Moon, an Iraq War vet, talks to guest host Sean Cole about the seven things people say to veterans that alienate and anger them.

Jason Moon, an Iraq War vet, talks to guest host Sean Cole about the seven things people say to veterans that alienate and anger them. Things like: “Glad you made it back home OK,” and “What did you do over there?” While they seem like pleasantries, Moon says these comments can trigger trauma.  He tells his story of denying and then facing PTSD, and sharing what he’s learned with veterans through music. He has started a non-profit and calls it Warrior Songs.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) approaches to the treatment of many medical and mental health diagnoses, including PTSD, are in use; the research base to support their effectiveness is improving, but not complete. Acupuncture, a component of traditional Chinese medicine, has been examined for PTSD in a limited number of small Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). Although early results are promising, replication of these results in larger studies is needed. Yoga Nidra, a relaxation and meditative form of yoga, has also been used as an adjunctive treatment for PTSD. Formal studies demonstrating its effectiveness for PTSD are currently being conducted, and further research is needed on Yoga Nidra for PTSD before its effectiveness can be commented on. Herbal or dietary supplements have also been used for the treatment of PTSD. Although there have been some studies of their effectiveness, the results of these small RCTs provide insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about their effectiveness for PTSD. In addition, the quality and purity of herbals and dietary supplements available in the United States varies widely, further complicating their use. Revisions of the VA/DoD CPGs are currently underway to include a comprehensive review of the evidence for all treatments, including CAM.

Researchers Identify PTSD Biomarkers

Researchers have located genetic biomarkers linked with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The PTSD markers are also associated with gene networks that govern innate immune function and interferon signaling. Researchers at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say an improved understanding of the gene networks connected with PTSD may help improve diagnosis and treatment of patients. The same knowledge may also help physicians identify patients who are genetically prone to the development of PTSD. The study was published recently in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry.

For more on PTSD, and tips on mental health and wellness, visit the Mental Health and Wellness section.


PTSD Treatment Options

As a new generation of service members returns from deployment, the Department of Defense (DoD) is faced with the challenge of identifying the most effective methods of treatment to address posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prevalence estimates of PTSD symptoms based on self-report surveys among warriors in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan vary, but it has clearly been shown to be a significant problem, especially for those exposed to sustained ground combat.

There are several treatment options that health professionals and clinicians can use to effectively treat service members with PTSD.  Since there are a number of factors to consider in treating PTSD (e.g., access to services, availability, safety, patient preferences, etc.), it is important to understand the different types of treatments available to service members.