Depression Treatment for Veterans

Depression Treatment for Veterans

Many United States veterans have been exposed to long periods of war-related stress or traumatic events while being deployed. Depression is often seen as a common problem following trauma and stressful events and there are many veterans who are having trouble coping with painful experiences like losing a good friend at war or witnessing a violent event. Protecting the mental health of these service men and women is important in an effort to honor their service and ensure that they are leading a healthy lifestyle post service.

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, 18.5% of the U.S. service members who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq currently have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. However, approximately 50% of those individuals are not seeking adequate treatment. If a veteran happens to experience symptoms of depression, it is important that he or she is aware of the effective treatments for depression that are available.

How can depression in veterans be treated?

Medication

The type of medications that are available to treat depression are known as antidepressants. They are created to correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood and behavior. They can produce unwanted side effects if not taken correctly so it’s important for a veteran to inform his or her doctor if they experience extreme health changes after taking antidepressants. Each individual should be monitored closely and carefully to ensure that they are used properly.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy offers veterans an opportunity to learn about new ways of thinking and behaving while changing habits that may lead to depression. Interactive sessions will help them understand the difficult situation and identify the origin of the condition. Therapy forces veterans to talk about their past memories instead of avoiding them. Allowing them to feel like their memories are a part of their everyday life and not dominating them.

Brain Stimulation Therapies

Brain stimulation therapies are a non-invasive option for treating veterans with depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe, non-invasive, drug free, and FDA-approved procedure that is proven to relieve patients from symptoms of depression. It is showing to be an effective therapy for veterans with depression in comparison to other interventions. The revolutionary procedure is highly successful and commonly used to relieve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. Unlike antidepressant medication, TMS is associated with fewer side effects. TMS therapy is safe when used and administered by a medical professional.

It’s important to look out for the symptoms of depression when a loved one comes home from war. Early treatment is always the best option! The National Institute of Mental Health identifies the following as symptoms of depression:

  • Frequent sad or anxious mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities

  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping

If you or a loved one have recently returned from deployment and are experiencing symptoms of depression, here are some additional tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America on how you can cope:

  • Understand it’s normal at the beginning to feel drawn away from your family and friends

  • Continue to make time for activities with family and friends

  • Let your loved ones take care of you

  • Limit the use of alcohol, it can make your symptoms worse

  • Try to be active and exercise

  • Postpone important life decisions until you feel better

Additional Resources

Furthermore, the Veterans Health Administration can help direct veterans to their local health care facilities. The Administration provides care at 1, 243 health care facilities across the United States.

If you are looking for a drug-free depression treatment in the Los Angeles area then TMS Neuro Institute can help. TMS Neuro Institute use transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat various forms of depression in Los Angeles, including treatment resistant depression. To schedule a consultation, call 888.823.4867 or book an appointment online here.