The problem of combat-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans has been a problem as long as there has been war. However, it is understood to be a much more serious problem than recently thought, and more attention is being put on this problem now. There are multiple treatments that are being implemented to treat combat-related PTSD, some are alternative treatments such as meditation, yoga, and guided imagery, and some are more traditional such as pharmacological interventions and cognitive behavioral techniques, or a combination of these.
Bastien (2010) states that pharmacological treatments are being used to treat combat related PTSD in veterans, often in combination with other types of treatment such as psychiatric and psychological interventions to create a holistic approach. Three types of drugs are commonly prescribed for those suffering from combat related PTSD; benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and beta-blockers (Bastien, 2010). Using Pharmacological treatments in combination with other types of treatment results in minimizing and often eliminating PTSD symptoms. In most studies there was gender bias as most serving in the military tend to be male (Bastien, 2010). Because there is a stigma among male soldiers about seeking treatment for PTSD symptoms, many of those that are indeed affected have not been diagnosed (Bastien, 2010).
Exposure therapy, which is a cognitive behavioral approach, currently is considered one of the most effective treatments available (Cukor et al., 2009). Rizzo et al., (2010) talks about one such example of exposure therapy is Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET). The object of VRET is to create multi-sensory, controllable environments, 3D interactive environments that are safe and that can offer the ability to motivate, measure and clinically assess human behavior, thereby offering treatment options on these observations (Rizzo et al., 2010).
This paper will focus on the use of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of veterans who are suffering from combat-related PTSD. Seidler & Wagner (2006) describe EMDR as a fairly new therapy that is used primarily in the treatment of PTSD, and was developed in 1987 by Francine Shapiro. Though there is still some controversy about certain aspects of this treatment, its efficacy cannot be doubted. And according to Seidler & Wagner (2006), the superiority of EMDR and one of the other most common forms of treatment, trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, cannot be ruled out as they are both extremely effective. Although efficacy was much the same, EMDR was considered more efficient because it required less average treatment time than cognitive behavioral therapy. It was concluded in a meta-analysis by Van Etten & Taylor (1998), that both of these treatments, EMDR and Cognitive behavioral therapy, were superior to other...