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Spiritual therapy eyed as possible treatment for PTSD

AUGUSTA – Doctors in Augusta are exploring the idea of using spiritual therapy to treat veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Such veterans are often treated with medication and psychotherapy, the Augusta Chronicle reported. But a research survey at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta aims to find out whether spiritual therapy might be of interest as well.

Dr. Nagy Youssef, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University who often treats PTSD, is conducting the survey through the VA.

Patients are often treated with medication, which can help reduce nightmares and flashbacks, and with psychotherapy to address the trauma, the Augusta newspaper reported.

But about a third of those patients don’t respond to either approach, Youssef said. And those approaches do not address spirituality, he said.

“None of this addresses moral injury and inner conflict,” Youssef said. “Somebody goes to combat, seeing friends being killed and killing others. Spirituality can be affected. It might go against their moral beliefs. That’s hard to reconcile when they come back.”

The research is being done in conjunction with the Durham, North Carolina VA and Duke University.

Youssef was part of a large group that helped to put together manuals on every major religion that might be incorporated into therapy.

Read more at Crux.

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