Veteran Airlift Command

 

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Assistance, Military & Veterans Organizations, Transportation Assistance, Veterans

Mission: The Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. Our priority is on the veterans of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). As capacity allows, our mission will expand to serve veterans of other conflicts.

Geographic areas served: National

Programs: The purpose of the organization is to provide free air transportation for medical and other compassionate purposes to wounded warriors, veterans, and their families through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. Such air transportation will be provided to these individuals when other practical means of transportation are inadequate or unavailable.

organization provides transportation to wounded veterans from their homes to various medical facilities around the country as deamed necessary by the military medical staff.

 

http://www.veteransairlift.org/VACHelp.html

 

PTSD Treatments: PTSD Therapy, PTSD Medications Can Help

Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment consists of PTSD therapy and PTSD medication. PTSD treatments are often combined for the best outcome.

https://www.healthyplace.com/ptsd-and-stress-disorders/ptsd/ptsd-treatments-ptsd-therapy-ptsd-medications-can-help/

PTSD treatments that have been scientifically validated can be very helpful in reducing and/or alleviating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD therapy and PTSD medications are effective treatments for those experiencing this severe anxiety disorder, developed after a traumatic event. For PTSD treatment, these techniques are usually combined for the best outcome (What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]?).

Because many psychiatric illnesses commonly occur alongside PTSD, they may also need treatment. Many people with PTSD also have issues with substance abuse (drug addiction information); in these cases, the substance abuse should be treated before the PTSD. In the cases where depression occurs with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD treatment should be the priority, as PTSD has a different biology and response than depression.1

Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur at any age and can be caused by any event or situation the person perceives as traumatic (PTSD in Children: Symptoms, Causes, Effects, Treatments). About 7% – 10% of Americans will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives.

PTSD Therapy

Several types of therapy are used in the treatment of PTSD (PTSD Therapy and Its Role in Healing PTSD). The two primary PTSD therapies are:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD focuses on recognizing thought patterns and then ascertaining and addressing faulty patterns. For example, faulty thought patterns may be causing the individual to inaccurately assess the danger of a situation and thus react to a level of danger that isn’t present. CBT is often used in conjunction with exposure therapy where the person with PTSD is gradually exposed to the feared situation in a safe way. Over time, exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder allows the person to withstand and adjust to the feared stimuli.2

EMDR therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a technique that combines exposure and other therapeutic approaches with a series of guided eye movements. This PTSD therapy is designed to stimulate the brain’s information-processing mechanisms in an effort to reprocess the traumatic memories so they can be integrated into the psyche without the associated anxiety. (Watch an interview about EMDR Therapy Self Help Techniques for Trauma Relief)

Other therapy techniques used in PTSD treatment include:

  • Family therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Hypnosis
  • PTSD Support Groups
  • Individual talk therapy – particularly for those with trauma from abuse or from childhood
  • Anxiety management

PTSD Medications

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) medications can often be used to alleviate the physical symptoms of PTSD enough so that PTSD therapy has a chance to work. Several types of PTSD medications are available, although not all are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medications for PTSD include:

  • Antidepressants – several types of antidepressants are prescribed for PTSD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the primary type. SSRIs have been shown to help the symptoms associated with re-experiencing of trauma, avoidance of trauma cues and over-awareness of possible dangers (hyperarousal). Both sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are FDA-approved antidepressant PTSD medications
  • Benzodiazepines – tranquilizers most frequently prescribed for the short-term management of anxiety symptoms. This type of PTSD medication may relieve irritability, sleep disturbances and hyperarousal symptoms. Examples include lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium).
  • Beta-blockers – may help with symptoms associated with hyperarousal. Propranolol (Inderal, Betachron E-R) is one such drug.
  • Anticonvulsants – anti-seizure medications also prescribed for bipolar disorder. No anticonvulsants are FDA-approved for PTSD treatment; however, those who experience impulsivity or involuntary mood swings (emotional lability) may be prescribed medications such as carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR) or lamotrigine (Lamictal).
  • Atypical antipsychotics – these medications may help those with symptoms around re-experiencing the trauma (flashbacks) or those who have not responded to other treatment. No antipsychotic is FDA-approved in the treatment of PTSD but drugs like resperidone (Risperdal) or olanzapine (Zyprexa) may be prescribed.

Novel pilot studies also suggest that Prazosin (Minipress, an alpha-1 receptor agonist) or Clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS, Duraclon, an antiadrenergic agent) may also be helpful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

article references

Living in PTSD Recovery and the Myth of a Cure

Living in PTSD recovery isn't the same as being cured of the disease. It's important to understand the difference. Take a look at this.

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2017/06/ptsd-recovery-and-the-myth-of-a-cure/

I lived with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for almost 22 years before I received treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. After five years of therapy, I healed enough to consider myself living in PTSD recovery. However, I still have symptoms that require maintenance, depression being the most notable. No magic formula exists to cure PTSD, but I have coping skills to manage my symptoms. Let’s look at the reality of living in PTSD recovery, and the myth of being cured.

Living in PTSD Recovery Is Not Like Being Cured

To the average person, curing an illness means you eliminate it entirely. I once broke my thumb. After a trip to the doctor and a few weeks of medical care, it healed completely. Once cured, my broken thumb was gone. It wasn’t suddenly going to break again on its own. With PTSD, there is no guarantee that once controlled, the symptoms will never return, even if months or years pass between occurrences.

By saying we live in PTSD recovery, we can acknowledge the reality that a mental illness relapse is possible, and the need to practice self-care consistently exists. For myself, this includes taking my medication, keeping my stress levels under control, and avoiding triggers.

I learned the importance of this mindset several years ago. I felt fully healed, so I stopped taking my medications. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, I encountered a particularly challenging trigger. As a result, I relapsed and experienced a dissociative fugue. I had not understood the long-term maintenance needed with PTSD.

Living in PTSD Recovery Symptom-Free

Symptom-free recovery is possible. It doesn’t mean you are done taking care of yourself. Here are some tools that are my essentials for continued PTSD recovery:

My most debilitating PTSD symptoms have been in remission since my fugue. I continue to follow my recovery plan and seek help at the slightest concern of a relapse. While it has been a long stretch of symptom-free recovery, I know my PTSD still exists, and that’s okay. I don’t need a cure. I need to use my resources to stay on track.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you faced roadblocks to recovery? Do you have supports or tools you use to stay on track? Please let me know in the comments below.

Understand Trauma-Informed Care to Improve PTSD Therapy

Understanding trauma-informed care can assist you in making the most out of your PTSD treatment. Here is what you need to know about trauma-informed care.

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2017/06/getting-the-most-out-of-therapy-for-ptsd/

In the field of mental health, the phrase trauma-informed care refers to a set of standards practitioners follow when treating individuals who have experienced trauma. Trauma-informed care reduces the risk of causing inadvertent harm to or retraumatizing people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Understanding the basics of trauma-informed care can help you make the most out of your PTSD therapy.

Understanding Trauma-Informed Care Improves PTSD Therapy

There are six parts to trauma-informed care. When I first discovered them, I realized my assumptions and insecurities about therapy were keeping me from expressing things that would benefit my recovery (Does the Stigma of Therapy Keep You from Getting Help?). Here is what I learned about these six areas and how they helped me become more involved in my treatment and get the most out of my PTSD therapy.

  1. Safety
    Providers want us to feel safe, physically and mentally. They strive to provide settings where we will feel at ease and best able to communicate. Tell your provider when something makes you feel uncomfortable. For example, I dislike heights and asked that the shades be drawn in my therapist’s office because it was several floors up and made me nervous.
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
    Providers should be happy to explain how their office runs as well as the policies they have in place. When I began therapy, I worried that some of my questions might be rude. In reality, they were all very understandable concerns. Asking why there is a locking door between the waiting area and the offices, how the staff is trained to react if someone becomes violent, or what will happen if your therapist believes you may harm yourself are all examples of policy-related questions.
  3. Peer Support
    Part of trauma-informed care is acknowledging that people who have experienced trauma can benefit from sharing their trauma stories and experiences with each other in a safe environment. Some agencies employ peer navigators who are available to coach us through situations that they have dealt with firsthand. If your service provider doesn’t have any peer support options, talk to them about what is available in the community.
  4. Collaboration and Mutuality
    We’re all in this together. Healing happens in relationships and includes every person we encounter in the therapy environment: therapists, case workers, clerical staff, housekeeping, administrators, and peers. We should feel comfortable and supported by every person we come into contact with, and it’s okay to express concern to trusted staff if someone makes you uneasy or acts in a way that upsets you.
  5. Empowerment, Voice, and Choice
    Your provider’s first resource is you. You guide your treatment, and your provider should give you options, not instructions. Providers have an understanding that you should be making the choices, but it helps when you let them know you’re ready to make decisions or when you feel lost and need extra guidance.
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues
    No matter what your cultural identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or religion, you should not only feel welcome unconditionally as you are, but your therapy should embrace your identity and include it in meaningful ways. Make sure your therapist knows what is important to you.

Test of Faith

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https://crumilitary.org/test-of-faith/

The incident in Mogadishu, Somalia, made famous by the book and movie, “Black Hawk Down,” changed my life.

It all began after high school when I visited an army recruiter. I asked, “What do you consider the toughest job in the army?”

“Being an Airborne Ranger,” was his quick reply.

“That’s what I want to be.”

Goals

I had two goals when I joined the army. One was to see how good my training was and the other was to test my faith in God. I knew the best way to accomplish these goals was to go to war.

In the 1989 invasion of Panama, Operation Just Cause, and later in Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm, I was shot at and placed in many dangerous situations. But I never thought I was in danger of losing my life.

Somalia

This all changed in 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia. The United Nations had been handing out food to the starving people in this East African country. There were several warlords in Somalia, and most of them had no problems with the U.N. One, Mohamed Farrah Aidid, saw the U.N. as a threat to his power. He began to ambush and kill U.N. workers. In one raid he killed and mutilated 24 Pakistanis.

The goal of my unit, Task Force Ranger, was to capture Aidid and bring his key men to justice for the death of those Pakistani workers.

Prior to our final mission on October 3rd and 4th, Task Force Ranger had conducted six successful operations. Everything had gone exactly as planned. But on that seventh mission, generally referred to as Black Hawk Down, things changed.

The Convoy

I was a 24 year old squad leader and placed my nine men in two Humvees. We led a ten vehicle ground convoy into the city. The job of the convoy was to retrieve the Rangers and Special Operations

Forces who had been dropped by helicopter onto the roof and in the surrounding alleys of the target building. We were to return them and their prisoners to our base.

The operation went exactly as planned with one exception: a Ranger, Todd Blackburn, in a Black Hawk helicopter, missed the slide rope and fell 70 feet to the ground. He hit his head first and our medics felt he would not survive unless he received immediate special medical care. As soon as I arrived at the target building, my commander called and told me to take Todd back to our base at the airport.

We loaded him into a Humvee and with my two vehicles around him we began to make our way back to the airfield. Mogadishu is about seven miles by two miles in size and one and a half million people had gathered there from all over Somalia to be fed.

Read Sergeant Struecker’s booklet, “Bullet Proof Faith,” to learn how he found God’s help in this extremely stressful situation.

(Excerpted from “Bullet Proof Faith.”)

PTSD From a Child’s Perspective

Featured Image for PTSD From a Child’s Perspective

https://crumilitary.org/ptsd-from-a-childs-perspective/

PTSD from a child’s perspective: What is happening with my daddy?

“We used to go to the park a lot before Daddy went away for such a long time,” said Cody to his mom.  “When will he be home so I can play catch with him? I really miss having him here to say goodnight to.”

It is difficult for children to live through a deployment when their concept of time seems to drag on forever. Having a father gone for months on end is so hard to understand for the young children of military families. Then what happens when he comes home from being in the war zone and life will never be the same again.  What happens to that tender heart when the residue of the combat zone brings silence or angry outbursts from a parent who did not act like that before going away? Over time the confusion a child now experiences because that same Daddy does not want to play at the park or throw a ball anymore can be devastating.

When an adult has a wounded heart, hopefully, he or she will recognize what the issue is and deal with it appropriately. When a child’s heart is wounded from the disappointment that their daddy is not the same as before he left, they need reassurance their parent still loves them. It is so important for a Mom who is dealing with a husband healing from the wounds of war to keep the atmosphere positive in the home. It is also good to explain there are wounds inside the body that need time to heal just as a broken arm or leg needs time to heal inside a cast before it can be used properly again.

A good strategy in building up a positive attitude is to start out the day praying for Daddy and for each person in the family.  Think of actions to make sure Daddy knows how much he is loved and appreciated. There are many reasons a person will feel sadness.  A child can be confused by adults who don’t take the time to explain why something is happening a certain way. Getting a young child involved in bringing joy to a sad heart is a sure way to begin to bring healing to everyone in the family.  Some ideas are to bake Daddy’s favorite cookies, design a card of encouragement, or even give extra hugs.

God loves it when people turn to him for comfort for “He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people.” 2 Corinthians 1:4.

A good prayer might be, “Dear God, we really need you to help us understand our daddy. Give us some ideas to make Daddy feel better. We all want to feel better, God. Thank you for Your help. Amen”

Additional verses: Psalm 28:7; Psalm 46:1,2a; Psalm 55:22

Visit our resource store for materials written specifically to help families dealing with the struggles of PTSD.  They are also sold on Amazon.

Spiritual Fitness

Featured Image for Spiritual Fitness

https://crumilitary.org/sfg-soldier/

The U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program lists five domains in which each soldier needs to be established: PHYSICAL – EMOTIONAL – SOCIAL – FAMILY – SPIRITUAL.

It is particularly important to the Christian Soldier to strengthen his or her Spiritual Fitness and that of their family. Spiritual fitness helps ensure positive growth after exposure to the stress and trauma of combat.

You are a Soldier defending your country. As part of this duty, you will encounter many challenges on the home front and on the battle front. The Spiritual Fitness handbook offers key tools to develop strength and find hope for your battles. Read through the handbook from start to finish, or use as needed to remind you of God’s love and promises given especially for you.

Definitions

Spiritual

This refers to the aspects of our lives which interact with God, His kingdom and the kingdom of Satan. The effects of these interactions will govern our relationships, priorities, perspectives, goals, attitudes, actions and responses to adversity and trauma.

Spiritual Fitness

This refers to qualities build into us through our relationship with God which enable us to strongly resist harmful influences or assaults (physical, mental or spiritual) and to recover quickly when our defenses are breeched, eventually taking us to a state that is stronger than we had known prior to our wounding. This gives us the ability to do things like:

♦ Bounce back after the tragic death of a close friend.
♦  Gain meaning and strength, even from tragedy.
♦ Convert pain and stress into purpose and productivity in service to others.
♦ Rise above and triumph over adversity we encounter.

Faith

This describes the conviction that an eternal, loving, all-powerful, trustworthy Creator-God exists, and that He desires to interact with us, care for us, guide us, and transform us to be like Him. We hold these convictions even when they cannot be verified by our five senses. Faith enhances spiritual fitness, prompting us to love, obey and worship God out of a sense of gratitude and to love other people as we love ourselves.

Christian Faith

This is the conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Christians believe that His willing sacrificial death on the cross paid the penalty for sin and made it possible for us to experience an eternal relationship with God through faith in Him. Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead verified His claims. True Christianity isn’t “pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by” or mere philosophy, but a vital day-by-day, moment-by-moment interactive friendship with God which enhances spiritual fitness.

Spiritual Fitness Guidebook: Soldier Edition

U.S. Soldier Edition. The Spiritual Fitness Guidebooks (SFG) offer training in spiritual fitness for Soldiers and their families who look to their Christian culture for guidance, strength and inspiration.

 CONTENTS
  • Bullet Proof Faith
  • How to Know that Christ is in Your Life
  • How to be a Disciple
  • What is the Bible?
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • Can a Christian be a Warrior?
  • Dealing with Tough Times
  • Comprehensive Soldier Fitness
  • Jesus in Resilience
  • Spiritual Battle Drills
  • Basic Spiritual Fitness
  • Spiritual Ammo Bunker

Spiritual Fitness Guidebooks are also available for Marines, sailors, and airmen.

Visit our Resource Store here