Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Veterans

CBT For Veterans - Soldier head in hands
As of October 2014, there were nearly 200,000 members of the UK Forces Service Personnel, including reserves. There are also an additional 4.6 million veterans living in the UK. That’s upwards of 5 million people who have experienced the pressures and hardships of service.

Thankfully, many military veterans will never develop a mental illness due to their service. However, new research conducted by King’s College London suggests that members of the UK armed forces are twice as likely to develop anxiety or depression than other working members of the general population. Considering the intensity of military jobs and the time spent away from family, the findings indicate that symptoms of anxiety and depression are even more prevalent than those for PTSD alone – a disorder commonly associated with veterans.

Professor Nicola Fear of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research says that this new understanding should underscore the necessity for better identification and treatment of depression and anxiety. There is certainly backing from the Ministry of Defence, and many options for support are available – though many may not be aware of each alternative, much less their benefits.  We have offered treatment to many veterans, particularly within our Salisbury Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinic and frequently found that many seek treatment privately, often following a period of time discharged from active service.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown in the majority of cases to help alleviate the symptoms of depression and improve quality of life for those affected. Veterans have been reported as experiencing around a 40% decrease in depression symptoms after participating in CBT programmes, results that promote this therapy as highly effective.

Active military can also benefit from therapy, as can the family members of those deployed. Because cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on finding active coping solutions and updating unhelpful thinking patterns, it works well for many common mental disorders including addiction, anxiety, and even suicidality. It can also help in the treatment of chronic pain alongside physical therapy – a helpful combination for those who’ve suffered physical wounds as well as mental and emotional ones.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is designed to be a short-term treatment with results typically seen within an average of twelve sessions. This also allows the added benefit of cost effectiveness for those seeking alternative methods of Therapy or considering private CBT.

Studies about our collective mental health and the results of different treatments will continue to pervade the field of medicine, but the compound evidence for the efficacy of CBT in cases of military veterans is nothing to take lightly. With each new paper published, we learn more about the best ways to correct life-altering (if not potentially life-destroying) problems.

In an effort to make ourselves as available as possible, we offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from seven locations, including our Christchurch CBT Clinic and Salisbury CBT Clinic that are ideally positioned to provide active and discharged service personnel with the option for independent private therapy. If you have served in the armed forces and are seeking CBT for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other emotional or mental problems, please contact us today to learn how we can help.