The Benefits of PTSD Therapy for Women Post Military Service
There is hope on the other side of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Seeking treatment for PTSD can help you manage your emotional responses to trauma from your time in military service.
For many women, post-traumatic stress disorder can arise for reasons that aren’t often identified. In this article, we’ll explore the prevalence of PTSD in women Veterans and how therapy for women can help you along the path to healing.
Prevalence of Women Veterans with PTSD
Common consensus estimates 20% of female Veterans are diagnosed with PTSD after returning from their service.
Women are generally more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men—10% vs. 4%, according to the National Center for PTSD.
Why Women Veterans Experience PTSD
Many triggering events may cause female Veterans to develop PTSD, including:
- Intense combat experiences
- Serious accidents while in service
- Natural or human-caused disasters
- The sudden passing of fellow service members
- Sexual or physical assault
Sexual assault can be a key difference in the experience between most men and women Veterans. Studies show nearly 1 in 4 women in the military will experience military sexual trauma (MST), be that harassment or assault.
How Do PTSD Symptoms in Women Differ from Those in Men?
Much of the discourse of PTSD symptoms revolves around the male experience—unexpressed rage, becoming easily startled, having trouble concentrating, etc. But many women have very different responses to their PTSD.
Women Veterans with PTSD are more likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Emotional numbness
- Comorbid mood and anxiety disorders
Women are also 2–3 times more likely than men to develop migraines, which may be propelled by stress from PTSD. Understanding these different psychological and physiological responses between men and women is essential as you seek recovery.
What PTSD Therapy for Women Veterans Looks Like
As PTSD symptoms can vary for each woman, a variety of therapy and medication options speak to those different experiences.
The following are some of the most common forms of PTSD therapy for women:
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): A cognitive therapy designed with PTSD in mind. Generally delivered over 12 sessions, this therapy trains the patient to challenge and change unhelpful beliefs related to their trauma.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A structured therapy where the patient focuses on their trauma memory while experiencing eye movement stimulation. The idea behind this treatment is to reduce the vividness and emotion associated with those trauma memories, thus dampening the effects of the trauma.
- Prolonged exposure therapy: This type of talk therapy encourages patients to tackle their trauma head-on, exploring trauma-related memories and feelings with a therapist. This confrontation can help decrease PTSD symptoms and regain more control in your life.
- Stress inoculation training (SIT): This treatment teaches Veterans how to react differently in their trauma response. SIT may be used on its own or paired with another type of therapy.
Treatment for PTSD takes time. Be patient with yourself and the time it takes you to rise above your trauma and its challenges. Recurring therapy can be a great help in your journey toward better mental health.
How to Start Your Wellness Journey for PTSD
Medical evidence like a Nexus Letter or Mental Health Evaluation can enhance your VA disability claim. These types of documents help to prove the connection between your service in the military and your current condition.
The benefits you qualify for will depend on your Veteran Affairs PTSD rating, which measures the severity of your symptoms (ranging from 10% to 100% severity). However, you won’t need documentation or a disability rating to receive care for military sexual trauma.
It’s important to work with a Veteran-friendly provider who can empathize with your situation and give you a fair assessment. Telemedica’s network connects you with verified and trusted mental health professionals known for their work with Veterans. Our services can help you start on your journey to wellbeing.
If you prefer virtual appointments in the comfort of your own home, our providers come straight to you through telehealth. Mental health evaluations are just as effective over video as they are face-to-face.
Take Control of Your Mental Health
The best time to take control of your mental health is today. As our part in raising Veteran PTSD awareness, we encourage all women Veterans to seek the help they need for managing PTSD. Reach out to Telemedica today to get the care you deserve.