SOURCE: Help Hospitalized Veterans

Help Hospitalized Veterans

December 05, 2013 14:47 ET

Arts and Crafts Support Recovery of Veterans Suffering From PTSD

WINCHESTER, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 5, 2013) - A popular news show recently highlighted one of VA's latest methods to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The strategy, called exposure therapy, utilizes a tactic similar to that used on victims of sexual assault.

In exposure therapy sessions, veterans are encouraged to recall details of the event aloud, as many as five times per session. Both veterans and mental health care providers are reporting the treatment's effectiveness, which can reduce the continual pain resulting from traumatic memories over time.

Exposure therapy is intense, so veterans are also encouraged to participate in enjoyable activities. During the show, veterans not in a session were shown working on arts and crafts.

"If I have too much time to think or if I have nothing to do, my mind will wander and I'm off into another world," said Vietnam veteran Paul Klugh, who regularly receives therapeutic arts and crafts from national nonprofit Help Hospitalized Veterans. While Klugh was not part of the telecast, he is quite aware of the disorder. "PTSD does not go away, so these crafts help a great deal!"

Completing his tour of duty, Klugh returned home with a Bronze Star for bravery in action. But negative memories of his experiences, however, continue to rush back into his present.

Klugh credits the excellent care he receives from the VA with helping him. He also credits the HHV organization for getting arts and crafts into his hands.

"I appreciate the craft kits so much. They help take my mind off my problems," Klugh said. "When I'm working on a kit, something that normally might bring on a PTSD attack doesn't bother me as much," he added. "I'm so focused on working on the craft kit that I'm able to overcome the triggers."

Since 1971, HHV has donated over 28 million therapeutic arts and crafts kits to facilities that care for veterans. And for veterans having difficulty leaving their homes, HHV offers a program to supply arts and crafts directly. For more information visit HHV.org or call toll-free 888-567-VETS (8387).

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