This survey documented the provision of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specialized posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment programs.
Program coordinators or designated staff from 125 of 170 VA specialized PTSD treatment programs completed and returned surveys between September 2010 and March 2011, indicating which of 32 CAM treatments were offered in that program.
Ninety-six percent of programs reported use of at least one CAM treatment. Eighty-eight percent offered CAMs other than those that are commonly part of conventional PTSD treatments (guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and stress management–relaxation therapies).
The widespread use of CAM treatments in VA PTSD programs presents an opportunity for researchers to assess the effect of CAM on mental health service use and PTSD symptoms among veterans. Future research should assess the effectiveness of CAM treatments and develop methods to tailor these treatments to veterans with PTSD.