15 June 2012

June is PTSD Awareness Month

As you may or may not know, June is PTSD Awareness Month in the US. The full impact of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is not yet known. The US Congressional Office states that, "Through September 2011, about 740,000 veterans from overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had been treated by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). That number is slightly more than half of all recent veterans eligible for care by VHA."The report goes on to say that, "One in four recent combat veterans treated at VHA from 2004 to 2009 had a diagnosis of PTSD."

National Center for PTSD
A great resource for those suffering from PTSD and their family members is the US Department of Veteran's Affairs National Center for PTSD website. It is full of information about PTSD including a list of symptoms, explanation of various treatments and some basic coping strategies. There is also a Professional Section that provides training materials for health professionals along with information and tools to help with assessment and treatment.Sadly, there is not much about biofeedback/neurofeedback on the site other than brief mentions of biofeedback as an adjunctive treatment or a means to relax.

Click Here to view a video on Dr. Russoniello's methods.
Over the years, the BFE has had the pleasure of working with a host of professionals who are using biofeedback and neurofeedback to treat clients with post traumatic stress disorder. Among them is Dr. Carmen Russoniello, Ph.D., a former Marine machine gunner and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. Dr. Russoniello implemented a biofeedback program for Wounded Warrior Marines at Camp Lejeune. The novel biofeedback intervention involves EEG and heart rate variability feedback and includes the use of virtual reality (VR). He recently presented a 1-hour webinar for the BFE:

The Central Autonomic Network and Combat PTSD: Assessment and Intervention
is now available as a recording in the BFE online shop.

PTSD in the General Public
Dr. Daniel Hamiel is an Israeli psychologist who has done extensive work in treating children with PTSD. In a past issue of Psychophysiology Today, Dr. Hamiel wrote an article titled "There Are the Best Laid Plans, and Then There is Biofeedback". The article summarizes his work with a group of adolescents who survived a terrorist bomb attack in a discotheque in Tel Aviv. Click here to read the full article.

Learning More About Biofeedback/Neurofeedback for PTSD
For health professionals who want to learn more about the potential of using bio/neurofeedback for PTSD, a good place to start is your local or regional biofeedback society. Attending an annual conference is a great way to learn more about the field and the potential applications in your practice.

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