Treatments for PTSD

Complementary/Alternative

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical practices that are not part of standard medical care.

A hand painting an image

Creative Arts Therapies

Creative expression can help you accept and work through the challenging emotions of your trauma.

I’ve had veterans who’ve come up to my art and say, ‘This makes me want to talk.’ — Phyllis, Veteran, U.S. Navy

Close-up of green eye.

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

Helps you process and make sense of your trauma.

[I feel] that I have taken some control of my life back. Freedoms I didn’t realize I’d lost have been returned to me — Steph

Woman getting hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

HBOT is a treatment involving breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment.

HBOT has definitely helped reduce the physical pain as well as the symptoms I suffered with specific TBI/PTS. — Nick Santoro, Veteran, U.S. Marines Corps

Woman meditating.

Meditation

Meditation is a mental training and breathing practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body.

While I’m far from healed, meditation has helped me realize I am not my thoughts, nor am I my trauma. — Sian Ferguson

Swoops of bright colors blending to show two heads in profile.

Psychedelics

Helps you explore traumatic experiences without a feeling of immediate threat.

I saw my whole past completely differently. It no longer became something that was haunting me — Nicholas Blackston, Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps

Man doing yoga warrior pose in a sunlit room.

Yoga

Yoga is a mind and body practice. There are many styles of yoga that combine poses, breathing techniques, and sometimes meditation.

[Yoga] has been so helpful and healing for me in the most amazing way. It has changed my life in a way that I could have never imagined. — Kevin Pearce, professional snowboarder who sustained a TBI

Cognitive

Cognitive therapy is a general term for treating mental health by talking with a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health provider.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help you to think differently about your experiences and your relationships, with the goal of making some positive changes in your life.

It was really just retraining my brain in the way that I was thinking. — Susan, Veteran, U.S. Navy

Man talking to a woman with her back to the camera

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

Teaches you how to gain control by facing your fears.

By reliving some of the scariest moments of my life when I was in Iraq, you learn that it’s there, but the intensity of the memory goes away.

A group of people smiling and talking.

Social Skills Training

Social skills is a broad term that includes understanding what is expected of you in different social interactions.

Some people, even a lot of people, will not understand your injury ... I’ve learned that in the long run it pays to be honest and open with people. — John Byler, TBI survivor

Man wearing virtual reality goggles.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET)

Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is a form of exposure therapy that uses technology.

In 13 weeks I’d completely changed who I had been for the previous ten years. — Jimmy Castellanos, Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps

Physical

Physical therapies are therapies that focus on the mechanical functions of the body.

Man running on a spring foot.

Adaptive Sports

Adaptive sports often run parallel to typical sports and are adapted for people with disabilities.

The recumbent [bike] is the one place where I don’t need any assistance...I’m completely independent and I’m successful. — Beth King, Veteran, U.S. Army

Pharmacy shelves of medication.

Medications

Medications are substances recommended by a doctor to help you deal with symptoms of PTSD or TBI or both.

With therapy I realized what my triggers are. Through that, and medication, I’m a lot better today. — James Dantzler, Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps