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Are There Alternative Therapies for Managing PTSD

It has been estimated that upwards of 6% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at least once in their lives. Interestingly, PTSD does not have to be a permanent condition. For most people, it is not. They eventually recover and get back to life as normal. But for those for whom PTSD is a permanent thing, management is critical.

One of the questions we get asked a lot, at least in terms of obtaining a Utah Med Card, is whether there are alternative therapies for managing PTSD. In a word, yes. The Utah Med Card represents just one of them. Every case of PTSD doesn't have to be treated with either a prescription or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It is not that either of those options is bad or inappropriate. Rather, it is simply that there are other options available.

The Basics of PTSD

Known formally as post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by some sort of event traumatic enough to have a lasting impact on mental health. It is most often associated with active military service. In that regard, the condition existed long before we began calling it PTSD.

Soldiers returning from WWI and WWII were said to be suffering from battle fatigue if they exhibited PTSD symptoms. But even as far back as the mid-19th century, the condition was observed among soldiers. Perhaps that's why we associate PTSD with military service.

Nonetheless, PTSD can be triggered by all sorts of traumatic events, including:

It is also worth noting that an individual does not have to experience the traumatic event firsthand. Just watching it unfold can be enough to trigger PTSD. If PTSD is severe enough, it can completely disrupt a person's life. It can even damage relationships.

Treating PTSD

Unfortunately, not all our attempts to treat PTSD have worked. Over the last hundred years or so, we have tried a combination of prescription medications and psychotherapy. Some combinations have worked quite well while others have not. In addition, it is no secret that people react differently to their treatments.

One of the alternative treatments that seems to be gaining traction is plant-based medicines made available through Med Cards. Here in Utah, PTSD is a qualifying condition for our Med Card program, and it’s the second most common condition for which patients receive Med Cards. Obtaining a card gives a PTSD patient access to medicines that are not available in any other way.

Will plant-based medicines do the trick all by themselves? There is no way to know for sure. Again, each PTSD patient responds to treatment differently. But if plant-based medicines are not enough, they can be combined with a variety of additional treatments. Here at Kindly MD, those treatments include mental health services provided by trained therapists.

Getting Better Is the Goal

Our philosophy is one of keeping an open mind regarding alternative treatments. We believe alternative treatments deserve more attention for one particularly important reason: getting better is the goal. Whether you are dealing with PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, or any other condition, you seek out healthcare services because you want to get better. We offer them because we want the same thing for you.
Maintaining a closed-minded approach to medicine does not help anyone. It certainly doesn't help a patient who has tried every conventional treatment without success. Fortunately, there are alternative treatments for most conditions. It is a matter of finding available treatments and then talking them over with a healthcare provider. We encourage doing just that if you have been diagnosed with PTSD.

When Adding Alternative Meds to Mental Health Care Is Appropriate

KindlyMD's commitment to comprehensive care motivates us to offer mental health services from licensed therapists. Our therapists work with patients who need help with conditions ranging from anxiety to depression and PTSD. But there are times when therapy alone is not enough. At those times, therapist and patient can consider adding alternative medicines to the treatment plan.

Alternative medicines are not considered traditional treatments for the condition a therapist is addressing. Oftentimes, they involve getting a Utah Med Card that gives a patient access to plant-based medicines. Our commitment to providing comprehensive care means that we want our patients to have as many treatment options as possible.

It Doesn't Have to Be a Major Issue

It is important to make the point that a patient doesn't have to be struggling with a major issue to benefit from therapy and alternative medicines. Yes, some of our patients are struggling with the very real consequences of PTSD. But others are experiencing relationship stress or difficulty with parenting.

Believe it or not, just about everyone could benefit from a little bit of therapy. We live in a highly stressful world that can be overwhelming at times. A few sessions of therapy could be just what a person needs to get back on track. All of that notwithstanding, adding alternative medicines to a treatment plan can make all the difference in the world for some patients.

An Example in PTSD

One of the more common therapy treatments for PTSD is something known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy that focuses heavily on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapist and patient work together to understand why the patient thinks and feels the way he does. Then they draw correlations between those thoughts and feelings and the patient's behavior.

Ultimately, the goal is to introduce new ways of thinking that positively impact feelings and behaviors. And yet, PTSD is known for symptoms capable of affecting patients physically. When physical symptoms cannot be overcome with CBT alone, alternative medicines are another option.

Reducing Anxiety and Flashbacks

Alternative medicines might be offered to relieve anxiety and the physical symptoms that come with it. Likewise for PTSD-related depression. If a plant-based medicine can reduce a patient's anxiety, other PTSD symptoms could be alleviated as well.

Some PTSD patients experience recurring flashbacks along with nightmares and insomnia. Unfortunately, frequent episodes can set up a recurring cycle that is hard to break. For example, a PTSD patient may have trouble sleeping due to nightmares. But the less sleep she gets, the more likely she is to experience additional nightmares along with the anxiety they produce. In turn, they affect her sleep even more.

Alternative medicines secured with a Utah Med Card can help break the cycle. They can help reduce anxiety and improve a patient's sleep. And with eight hours of quality sleep every night, PTSD symptoms are more likely to diminish.

It Doesn't Hurt to Talk About Mental Health

PTSD is just one condition that could be treated with a combination of therapy and alternative medicines. Rather than dismissing the possibilities, we encourage you to at least talk about it with a trained therapist. KindlyMD therapists are ready and waiting to help.

When therapy isn't enough to help patients overcome their mental health challenges, care can often be enhanced with alternative medicines. Given that we focus on comprehensive care, we would be remiss by not considering those alternative meds.

Few things are as important to people as physical and mental health. How often do we hear people say something like, "you don't have anything if you don't have your health?" Enjoying good health is key to living the best life possible, which is why we include trauma-informed care (TIC) in our treatment approach.

Everything we do at KindlyMD revolves around helping patients feel better. We want patients to take control of their own healthcare while simultaneously utilizing the alternative treatments we recommend. But that is not possible if we, as medical providers, don't look at a patient's case from every angle. That leads us right back to TIC.

TIC takes a unique approach to healthcare by accounting for how trauma impacts a patient. Nearly everyone experiences trauma at some point in our lives. For many people, a significant trauma is serious enough to influence both physical and mental health. We need to account for that in creating tailored treatment plans and making recommendations for care.

TIC's Five Key Principles

Trauma-informed care isn't a single methodology or treatment protocol. It doesn't create a tunnel-visioned view of patient care. Quite to the contrary, TIC accounts for a variety of different factors that all work together to improve outcomes. TIC is built on five key principles:

  1. Patient Choice – Patients should always be given as many choices as possible. By choosing their own providers, the care they receive, where they receive that care, etc., they maintain control.
  1. Patient Safety – Patients deserve to feel physically and emotionally safe whenever they seek care. If they do not feel safe, overcoming trauma will not be easy.
  1. Full Collaboration – It is in a patient's best interests to enjoy full collaboration with the entire healthcare team. Patients should be considered equal partners in their treatments rather than mere recipients.
  1. Complete Trust – Patients suffering from trauma must be able to trust their medical providers completely. For their part, providers need to be honest, transparent, and committed to confidentiality.
  1. Full Empowerment – The TIC model seeks to fully empower patients to take control and to heal. Empowerment is accomplished through support, education, building connections, etc.

When all five principles guide TIC, patients end up being treated as individuals with their own unique circumstances and needs. They are no longer just numbers on a daily patient load report. That's the way healthcare delivery should be.

You Are More Than Just Your Condition

We embrace trauma-informed care in all our clinics because we recognize that you are more than just your condition. Far too often, patients and medical providers do not think beyond the patient's condition and its immediate symptoms. The end result is a treatment with a single goal of alleviating those symptoms. We don't work that way here at KindlyMD.

In addition to the condition that you are suffering from, you have a medical and mental health history. You have a normal lifestyle and routine. You need to live your life according to your circumstances and surroundings. Trauma may or may not be part of the mix.

If there is trauma in your life, it could be affecting your physical and mental health. We want to be informed of that trauma so we can account for it in our tailored treatment plans.

Not all medical professionals practice trauma-informed care. There is nothing we can do about that. But at KindlyMD, TIC is part of our treatment approach. If you are dealing with chronic pain, PTSD, and other chronic conditions that often have trauma attached, we are here to help. We offer alternative treatments along with full support, education, and compassionate care.

At KindlyMD, we believe in holistic healthcare that encompasses not just the physical aspects but also the emotional and mental well-being of our patients. Today, we want to discuss a topic that often gets overlooked but is of paramount importance: the intersection of chronic pain and mental health. Emerging research is shedding light on the profound impact that mental health support can have on managing chronic pain effectively. Join us as we explore the connection and the benefits of a comprehensive approach to your well-being.

The Mind-Body Connection

Chronic pain isn't just about physical discomfort; it can take a toll on your mental and emotional state. Studies have shown that individuals dealing with chronic pain often experience increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This complex relationship creates a vicious cycle where the pain exacerbates mental health issues, and those issues, in turn, intensify the perception of pain.

A 2019 study published in the "Journal of Pain Research" found that chronic pain patients with comorbid anxiety or depression reported higher pain intensity and reduced quality of life compared to those without these mental health conditions. This highlights the need to address not just the physical symptoms but also the emotional well-being of chronic pain sufferers.

How Does Mental Health Support Make a Difference?

  1. Pain Perception and Coping Mechanisms: Our mental state can significantly influence how we perceive pain. Learning effective coping strategies through mental health support can help individuals better manage their pain, making it feel less intense and more manageable.
  2. Medication Dependency: While medications play a crucial role in managing chronic pain, overreliance can have adverse effects. A 2020 study from the "Journal of Clinical Medicine" showed that patients who received cognitive-behavioral therapy alongside pain medication reported decreased medication usage and improved pain outcomes compared to those solely relying on medication.
  3. Overall Well-Being: Mental health support not only alleviates the emotional burden of chronic pain but also enhances overall well-being. It empowers patients to regain control over their lives, fostering a sense of hope and positivity.

A Collaborative Approach Is Key

At KindlyMD, we understand the intricate connection between chronic pain and mental health. Our compassionate team of healthcare professionals is committed to providing comprehensive care, addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of your pain. Our personalized treatment plans include a combination of traditional medicine, alternative treatments, and mental health support to ensure you receive the holistic care you deserve.

Chronic pain is more than just physical discomfort; it's a complex experience that impacts every aspect of your life. The KindlyMD team is here to support you on your path to healing. Remember, you're not alone, and a comprehensive approach that includes mental health support can make all the difference. Let's work together towards a brighter, pain-free future. We can break the cycle of chronic pain and help you regain the quality of life you deserve. Contact us today or schedule now to embark on a journey toward healing, where your mental well-being is just as crucial as your physical health.

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