Alternative Therapies for PTSD – Advancing Heroes Program – Arizona

Alternative Therapies for PTSD

Many Veterans suffer from PTSD, and many struggle to find ways to adjust to a “New Normal” and find a way to live a life with PTSD, not letting PTSD dictate how you live. We want to start showing a series of articles that examine some alternative ways to treat PTSD.]

While medications seem to be the predominant treatment method for PTSD, there are many other options, and most go unused or even unknown. We hope to start bringing you some alternatives for you to explore.

We will start in Arizona, an area that is rocked by the Phoenix VA Debacle, and shift to a story of a veteran who found his own treatment forms, and turned them into a program for all veterans.

The Advancing Heroes Program offered by Terros (www.terros.org) is a program that combones alternative therapies, including yoga, acupuncture, art therapy and equine therapy. Started by a Combat Medic Veteran who was looking for a better alternative to the VA’s treatment for PTSD, he developed a program, and pitched it to Terros Medical, who picked up the program. This is a 12-week program that seems to be helping Veterans in ways other traditional treatments have not.

For more information, read this article, courtesy of the Arizona Republic:
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2014/07/17/vets-find-relief-ptsd-yoga-alternatives/12789899/

We hope to bring more options for alternative treatment to all of you as we find them. If you know of any programs for alternative treatments for PTSD, please share it with us, so we may share it with all of our readers.

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PTSD and How it’s Evaluated

One of the most prevalent conditions that is being recognized and identified is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  After over a decade of supporting multiple conflicts and multiple deployment cycles, the mind and psyche never get the proper time a service member needs to properly process and recover from what they’ve experienced.  In most cases, PTSD will be a lifelong condition that will change a Veterans’ life, as well as the lives of those around them.

With all the emphasis on this, there are a lot of issues when it comes to the evaluation of PTSD when it comes to having the VA rate the severity of the condition.  Here is the exact description of the VA’s evaluation factors for Mental Disorders, per 38 C.F.R. ยง 4.130, DC 9411
  • 100 Percent
    • Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought process or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name
  • 70 Percent
    • Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships
  • 50 Percent
    • Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining Effective work and social relationships
  • 30 Percent
    • Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events)
  • 10 Percent
    • Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication
  • 0 Percent
    • A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication


A lot of Veterans that we have known have gone through the evaluation exams for PTSD Ratings, both directly with the VA, or with one of the “Third-Party Contractors” – we put that in quotes because that phrasing implies that it could be impartial, but the VA is paying the bill to the contractor.

Here are some of the tips provided by other Veterans:

  • The evaluator will ask you about your childhood and your family growing up, if you tell them that you have had a traumatic childhood they will try to link your PTSD to that instead of military exposure therefore denying you a rating.
  • Make a list of the symptoms your experiencing and when they occur. Often in these interviews your symptoms will be at a minimum because the setting is reasonably safe and you are focused. Even things that seem unrelated can be symptoms. Such as problems maintaining attention or not expressing emotions.
  • Be truthful, but not to the point that it will hurt their chance of a rating. IE: While the majority of my symptoms are controlled, let them know if you still struggle some symptoms daily.
  • If the veteran is in school, show examples of how it’s a struggle.

If anyone has any other suggestions to pass along, please let us know so that we can share with others.