The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have left a great deal of soldiers needing to seek comprehensive care back home in the United States. While a bulk of this care has been physical, some are also seeking attention for psychological trauma. Some of this trauma is a result of what the soldiers saw, while some can be attributed to acute pain.
Science Daily recently posted a release that highlighted the common sources of pain. These sources include the head, legs and shoulders. Veterans are also reporting high rates of mental health issues, not the least of which is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and alcohol use disorders.
To address all of these issues, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have developed an integrated treatment program for veterans. This program is aimed at those dealing with comorbid chronic pain and PTSD.
In the BUSM study, soldiers received great benefit from receiving the integrated treatment for pain and PTSD. Researchers used components of cognitive therapy for PTSD and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic pain management. The CBT approach was proven to be highly effective in treating a range of disorders.
“Several themes emerged over the course of implementing the treatment, including the importance of establishing participant trust, regular therapy attendance and addressing participant avoidance,” explained lead researcher John D. Otis, PhD in Science Daily. Otis is an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at Boston University School of Medicine and clinical psychologist in the Research Services at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
“Participants reported that they liked the format of treatment, appreciated learning about the ways that chronic pain and PTSD share common symptoms and how the two disorders interact with one another,” said Otis.