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Terrance J. Goodell, MA, NCC Readjustment Counseling Therapist Cedar Rapids Vet Center 4250 River Center Court NE Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 (319) 378-0016.

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Presentation on theme: "Terrance J. Goodell, MA, NCC Readjustment Counseling Therapist Cedar Rapids Vet Center 4250 River Center Court NE Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 (319) 378-0016."— Presentation transcript:


2 Terrance J. Goodell, MA, NCC Readjustment Counseling Therapist Cedar Rapids Vet Center 4250 River Center Court NE Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 (319) 378-0016

3 NOT ALL WOUNDS ARE VISIBLE Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Combat Veterans: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment


5 Over There…

6 On Campus…

7 Transitions Veterans Face Airman, Marine, Sailor, or Soldier to civilian Danger to safety Discomfort to comfort Camaraderie to solitude Mistrust to trust Chaos to order

8 Attributes Highly Valued in Combat Heightened arousal. Being on constant alert for danger. Narrowed attention and focus. A hostile appraisal of events. Not trusting people. Making quick, unilateral decisions. Having a “mission first” mentality. Expecting others to obey directives without question. Reacting quickly and asking questions later. Ability to shut down emotions.

9 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) An Anxiety Disorder caused by exposure to traumatic events. Trauma: Threats to life/limb, or witnessing of same. These experiences lead to intense feelings of fear, horror, terror, or helplessness.

10 Reexperiencing 1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. 2. Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. 3. Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including

11 those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated. 4. Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the trauma. 5. Physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues…

12 Avoidance 1. Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma. 2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma. 3. Inability to recall important aspects of the trauma. 4. Markedly diminished interest or participation

13 Avoidance (continued) in significant activities. 5. Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. 6. Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings). 7. Sense of foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage…etc.).

14 Increased arousal 1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep. 2. Irritability or outbursts of anger. 3. Difficulty concentrating. 4. Hypervigilance. 5. Exaggerated startle response.

15 Additional Specifications Need at least 1 reexperiencing symptom. Need at least 3 avoidance symptoms. Need at least 2 arousal symptoms. Duration of disturbance is more than 1 month. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

16 Acute if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months. Chronic if duration is 3 months or more. Delayed onset if onset of symptoms is at least 6 months after the stressor.

17 A Brief History Civil War – Soldier’s Heart / Nostalgia – Railroad Spine

18 WWI – Shell Shock

19 WWII/Korea/Vietnam Battle Fatigue/Combat Exhaustion Gross Stress Reaction Post-Vietnam Syndrome

20 Other Trauma Syndromes Rape Trauma Police Officers Shooting Trauma Battered Woman Syndrome

21 Statistics Please! National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study(1990): – 15.2 % of all male Vietnam theater veterans have PTSD(479,000 vets) – Current estimates run as high as 30.6 % for males (960,000) and 26.9 % for females (1900+) New England Journal of Medicine Study on Army and Marine infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan: – 15.6 % – 17.1 % (Iraq) – 11.2 % (Afghanistan) – 23% of all OIF vets (2007) Studies on Gulf War vets range from 2 % - 10 %

22 ASSESSMENT Structured Clinical Interview PTSD Checklist – Military Version (PCL-M) Beck’s Depression Inventory – II (BDI-II) Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS)

23 Biological Aspects Opioid System Disregulation – a. Decreased pain threshold at rest – b. Stress-induced analgesia – c. Decreased endorphin levels

24 Triggers Anniversary Dates Environmental Cues 5 Senses – Sounds – Smells – Sights – Taste – Touch

25 Negative Beliefs Generated by Trauma 1. Safety 2. Trust 3. Power (control) 4. Esteem 5. Intimacy

26 Comorbidity Depression Other Anxiety Disorders Axis II Disorders Dissociative Disorders

27 Substance Abuse Comorbidity of PTSD and substance abuse is common – “Self-medication Theory” – Studies vary on percentage of Vietnam combat vets diagnosed with PTSD and comorbid substance abuse: 22.2% (NVVRS, 1990) – alcohol/6.1% for other drugs 35% (Brief, 1992) 40% (Kovach, 1986) – Complicates treatment – Must distinguish between abuse and dependence – Marijuana; not as “benign” as once believed

28 Treatment Approaches 1. Individual psychotherapy 2. Group psychotherapy 3. Prolonged Exposure (PE) 4. Specialized inpatient PTSD programs 5. Pharmacotherapy 6. EMDR 7. Relaxation training/stress reduction 8. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

29 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Focus on faulty beliefs System of understanding Creates less anxiety in treatment Targets accessible cognitive processes Recent research indicates that it is the most effective form of psychotherapy

30 Group Therapy Curative Factors in Groups Instillation of hope – “You’ll get through this” Universality – “You are not alone” Interpersonal learning – Learning from others overcoming Catharsis – Release because it’s safe Group cohesiveness – “I belong”

31 Relaxation Training/Stress Reduction 3 count breathing Tai Chi Breathing Progressive muscle relaxation Guided imagery Audio/video tapes Physical exercise Avoid caffeine/other stimulants Avoid alcohol/nicotine

32 Symptom Management Anxiety Containment Anger Management Mood/Affect Regulation

33 Grief Work Verbalizing the loss. Education about the grief process. Talking through the loss. Using guided imagery. Saying goodbye. Orienting toward the future.


35 Suicide 2005 University of Georgia study found that among Iraq veterans, suicide rates were twice that of non-veterans. 20-24 year-old veterans had 2-4 times higher rates than non-veteran peers. 1 800 273-TALK (8225)

36 Treatment Provider Issues Vicarious traumatization Compassion fatigue Burnout

37 Welcome Them Home! Express appreciation for their service. Understand that the transition home is a process and will take time. Support with patience and listening.

38 Topics to Avoid! Do not pressure veterans about specifics regarding their service that they do not want to share. Do not minimize the challenges a veteran may face. Do not make assumptions about any veteran’s political or foreign policy views. Do not single out a veteran without prior approval


40 Inappropriate Questions Did you kill anyone? Did you see anyone die? Are you glad that you’re back? Do you think we are winning over there? Is it worth it? Do you still support the war? What is your political affiliation?

41 ???

42 Bibliography American Psychiatric Association (2000), Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4 th ed.; text rev.), Washington, D.C. Crosby, J.P. (2008), A mind frozen in time, Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. Herman, J. (1992), Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror, BasicBooks, New York, NY.

43 Bibliography Matsakis, A. (1994), Post-traumatic stress disorder: A complete treatment guide, New Harbinger, Oakland, CA. Schiraldi, G.R. (2000), The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth, Lowell House, Los Angeles, CA. Taylor, S. (2006), Clinician’s guide to PTSD: A

44 Cognitive-behavioral approach, The Guilford Press, New York, NY. Waites, E.A. (1993), Trauma and survival: Post-traumatic and dissociative disorders in women, Norton & Company, New York, NY.

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