Resource Discovery| Mobile App: PTSD Coach

By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT

PTSD Coach Mobile App
Image from US Department of Veterans Affairs[PTSD Coach Mobile App]
June is PTSD Awareness Month and in its honor, we would like to share this great app created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD  in partnership with the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 60% of men and 50% of women experience a trauma in their lives. Approximately 7-8% of the US population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. For Veterans, the number of PTSD cases in a given year varies by the service era with approximately 11-20% who served in OIF or EIF.
Thinking about the statistics above and the ever- growing use of technology, the National Center for PTSD has created a mobile app designed to provide education and assistance in managing symptoms that may occur after trauma. This app has multiple features including the following sections: Learn, Track, Manage, and Support.

Learn
This option provides three different categories where you can learn about PTSD, get professional help, and how PTSD impacts the family. Each category features questions, answers, and resources that may assist people in learning more about their own symptoms or those of a loved one.

Track
This option also provides three different categories offering users the option of taking an assessment, reviewing assessment history, and scheduling an assessment. These three options allow users to monitor their results over time to assess whether their symptoms are getting better or worse. An easy- to- read graph is provided so that users can quickly determine their progress. Additionally, users can schedule times to take their self-assessments where the app will remind them to complete it. They recommend using the month schedule to take the assessment.

Manage
This option has several symptoms in a list, offering the user a ‘distress meter’ where they can determine their level of distress at any given time. After the user enters their level of distress, the app provides a tool to help manage the symptoms and change the level of distress. The tools range from ambient sounds to inspiring quotes. There is also an option for adding favorite pictures and sounds to assist in self-soothing techniques.

Support
The final option offers users three categories as well, including crisis resources, find professional care, and grow your support. These categories feature phone numbers to hotlines for crisis intervention and a place where users can add phone numbers that may be helpful to them. Additionally, there is information on ways to locate mental health care providers for the general public and veterans in their area.

PTSD Coach is a wonderful resource for those who are struggling with or know someone who is struggling with symptoms of PTSD. While this does not take the place of professional evaluation and help, it is certainly a tool that can be used in a very personalized and private manner, offering some light during those dark times. This app is available for FREE download from iTunes and Google Play.

This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.

A New Way of Conquering PTSD?: US Army Research on Anesthetic Injection

By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT

https://pixabay.com/en/patch-stone-facade-repair-setting-2328289/
Pixabay[Patch by ulleo, May 18, 2017, CCO]
While we all experience some level of stress after a traumatic event, what distinguishes PTSD  is long-lasting symptoms that don’t subside, may get worse over time, and interfere with daily living. For years, the two main treatments for PTSD have been psychotherapy and medication; with some people choosing to use one or the other and some using a combination of both. However, the US Army is researching a new type of treatment; one that involves a single injection to the neck.

The Washington Times published an article this week on the study of Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) which involves injecting an anesthetic into a bundle of nerves that sits near the base of the neck. According to the Military Times, this treatment technique is showing promising results “relieving symptoms in 70 percent of combat veterans who received it once or more”. This therapy “quelled symptoms of PTSD, such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression… according to the report published in October”.

To see how this SGB treatment works, see the video below from the Wall Street Journal:

As mentioned in the Washington Times, “Psychologist Ron Hoover, who oversees the study, told the Journal that military officials must take a conservative position when it comes to such treatment… [The Army doesn’t] want to risk service member’s lives or experiment on them”.  It will be interesting to see how this study evolves and what results are discovered. 

This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration area on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.