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San Diego VA Encourages Vets To Seek Treatment For PTSD

San Diego's VA Medical System marked PTSD Awareness Day by handing out information about two front-line therapies.

The San Diego VA Medical System marked PTSD Awareness Day on Friday by handing out information about two front-line therapies that can help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

VA officials say two types of psychotherapies have emerged as the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that affects many military veterans.

Prolonged exposure therapy helps sufferers deal with activities they’ve been avoiding by experiencing them in a safe, controlled environment.

Cognitive processing therapy explores ways of thinking that get in the way of recovery.

VA psychologist Sonya Norman said PTSD used to be thought of as a chronic condition. But now it’s seen as something from which people can recover.

“It doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t have bad memories of their trauma, or doesn’t have some ongoing symptoms," she explained. "But people can have a great quality of life and really live the life they want with treatment."

Related: Nation Recognizes PTSD Awareness Day

Norman said nearly 1 out of 3 veterans in San Diego who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan have screened positive for PTSD. About 10 percent have been diagnosed and are getting ongoing care.

PTSD is an emotional disorder that's usually caused by life-threatening experiences, or devastating life events.


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