Chances are you've been diagnosed by your VA doctor telling you that you're experiencing PTSD, if not, here's how to recognize PTSD incursion into your life according to the VA. You can overcome PTSD. It takes daily effort. There are even several good techniques to relieve flashbacks under traditional approaches. Here's a good book (PTSD Recovery by David Craft) with many self-help techniques. You can download this Audio e-book free currently if you tell Amazon you want to "try out" Audio Books on the order page on a trial basis.

As far as allopathic medical treatments go, the best breakthrough for Veterans suffering from PTSD is still in trials with the VA but, it's a breakthrough with no known side effects as of this writing July 4, 2019: Stellate Ganglion Block  As of July 4, 2019 only a tiny fraction of VA facilities offer Stellate Ganglion Block treatments. 

"Regarding Stellate Ganglion Block:  The reviewers found that “There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against… stellate ganglion block (SGB)…”  (page 65) 

"So, in short, in spite of anecdotal evidence that it is helpful to some people, there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend it as a primary treatment for PTSD.  Typically multiple well-controlled randomized clinical trials are needed to determine if a treatment can be recommended and we look forward to seeing the results of the study mentioned above. " 

BACK TO MY COMMENTS: Nonetheless, a 6 month reprieve from PTSD anxieties noted by the doctors interviewed in the 60 minutes recording posted above (the anecdotal evidence) leads me to desperately search for any doctor in the SF Bay Area providing Stellate Ganglion Block treatments, either VA or private practice, to which I can refer those suffering from PTSD. The July Update of the VA below does not mention SGB-Blocks because it's still in trials and the medical system by its nature moves slowly. 

The Best Medicine? Focus on What's Bothering You

Three Veterans: two men and a woman - portraits from AboutFace

Treatment Can Help You Heal

It's common to hope that PTSD symptoms will just go away over time, but this is unlikely if you’ve had symptoms for longer than a year. Even if you feel like you can handle your symptoms now, they may get worse over time. Seeking treatment and talking about a traumatic event may seem hard, but confronting difficult memories can help you heal and move forward.

Trauma-Focused Psychotherapies

Man talking to a therapist

With trauma-focused psychotherapy you work with a trained provider to face exactly what is bothering you.

There are three specific treatments that have the strongest scientific evidence showing they are safe and proven to work. These therapies are:

Each therapy is different, but they all teach you how to process your trauma-related thoughts, memories, and feelings so that you can move on. For more on how these therapies work and evidence based treatment watch our short, informative videos.

Treatment: What to Expect

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

After a trauma, it's common to have negative thoughts — like thinking what happened is your fault or that the world is very dangerous. CPT helps you learn to identify and change these thoughts. Changing how you think about the trauma can help change how you feel.

Christopher J. Tyler, US Army (1996-2004)

"Before, I had my blinders on and I'd see all the things I had [done] wrong. And now, when I go through it, I see the experience as a whole... The way I think about this completely changed."

- Christopher J. Tyler, US Army (1996-2004)

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

People with PTSD often work hard to avoid traumatic memories and things that remind them of the trauma. This can help you feel better in the moment, but in the long term it can keep you from recovering from PTSD by preventing you from processing what happened to you. In PE, you expose yourself to the memories, feelings, and situations that you’ve been avoiding. It sounds scary, but facing things you’re afraid of in a safe way can help you learn that you don’t need to avoid reminders of the trauma.

Sarah Humphries, US Army (1994-2012)

“It unlocks the ugly stuff. It’s in there eating away at you anyway, so it’s better just to purge it in your therapist’s office. Honestly it felt like a weight off of my shoulders. It was phenomenal.”

- Sarah Humphries, US Army (1994-2012)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR can help you process upsetting memories, thoughts and feelings by having you focus on images of the trauma. At the same time, the therapist introduces brief sets of back-and-forth eye movements, taps or tones. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories. Over time, it changes how you react to memories of your trauma and how you feel about yourself.

Rogelio “Roger” Rodriquez, Jr., US Navy (1987-1993), US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

"My traumatic thoughts don't come to the forefront of my everyday life and consume my thoughts…they have been processed and placed into long- term memory, where they belong."

- Rogelio "Roger" Rodriquez, Jr., US Navy (1987-1993), US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

AboutFace: Veterans Talk About Getting Help

To hear more about these and other Veterans' experiences with trauma-focused psychotherapies visit AboutFace, where Veterans who have been through them, will tell you about their experience.

How Can You Decide Which Treatment is Right for You?

The online PTSD Treatment Decision Aid is a great way to learn about your options and consider which treatment is right for you. You can watch videos of providers explaining how treatments work, then build a personalized comparison chart of the treatments that appeal to you. You can share a printout of the chart with your provider as you decide together which treatment best meets your needs.