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Treating PTSD in Veterans

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition characterized by persistent and debilitating symptoms that occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It was first recognized in veterans of war, leading it to be known as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue.” To this day, PTSD remains a prevalent issue among military veterans, with 7% of veterans struggling with it at some point in their lives.1

Thankfully, treatment for PTSD can be incredibly effective. Helping veterans work through trauma and build healthy coping skills is an essential part of PTSD treatment services. At Columbia Associates, we help veterans who have experienced trauma find healing and reclaim their lives.

Ready to learn more about our PTSD treatment services? Call 703.682.8208 today to get started.

Why PTSD Is Common in Veterans

Many veterans experience traumatic events during their time in the military, including combat exposure, sexual assault, and physical injuries. PTSD develops as a result of trauma altering the brain’s natural response to stress. Normally, the brain utilizes the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex to process threats and manage fear responses. However, exposure to traumatic events can cause these regions to become imbalanced.

The amygdala, responsible for detecting danger and initiating a fear response, becomes hyperactive. Meanwhile, the hippocampus, which aids in processing and storing memories, is often impaired in those with PTSD, causing problems with distinguishing past and present experiences. Finally, the prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotions and fear reactions, can become less active, making it difficult to tame the heightened responses initiated by the amygdala. This dysregulation in the brain leads to the heightened startle reactions, flashbacks, and persistent hyper-vigilance associated with PTSD in veterans.

What Does PTSD Look Like?

PTSD can manifest in a variety of symptoms, and each person’s experience with the disorder may differ. However, some common symptoms of PTSD in veterans include:

  • Re-experiencing traumatic events through flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts
  • Avoidance of triggers associated with the trauma, such as people or places that remind them of the event
  • Negative changes in thought patterns and mood, including feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and hopelessness
  • Hypervigilance and exaggerated startle responses
  • Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
  • Isolation and detachment from loved ones
  • Self-destructive behaviors, including substance abuse and reckless actions

PTSD is a treatable condition, and early identification and intervention can significantly improve a veteran’s symptoms and overall quality of life.

The Best Approach to PTSD Treatment for Veterans

Typically, treatment for PTSD involves therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Working with experienced therapists and psychiatric professionals to assess, diagnose, and effectively treat PTSD can help veterans manage and reduce symptoms.

While in treatment for PTSD, veterans might:

  • Process traumatic experiences
  • Build healthy coping skills
  • Learn how to manage triggers
  • Address negative thought patterns related to trauma
  • Develop strategies to improve sleep and concentration

Although PTSD cannot be cured, treatment can help people manage it effectively. Veterans who seek and receive appropriate treatment often experience a significant reduction in symptoms and an improved quality of life.

Reach Out to Columbia Associates for PTSD Treatment Services

At Columbia Associates, veterans who have experienced trauma can find the expert care and support they need to work through PTSD. Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate and effective treatment for veterans struggling with PTSD. Whether you are a veteran yourself or know someone who is, we encourage you to reach out to us today.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic mental health care experts. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.


1. How Common is PTSD in Veterans? – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs