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Title page for ETD etd-03252018-202803

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ehlert, Ashley Elizabeth
Author's Email Address ashley.ehlert@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03252018-202803
Title Assessing the Utilization of Therapeutic Outlets for the Alleviation of Symptoms Associated with PTSD in Military Veterans
Degree Master of Arts
Department Medicine, Health, and Society
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kenneth MacLeish Committee Member
Laura Stark Committee Member
  • therapeutic outlets
  • alternative medicine
  • veteran mental health
Date of Defense 2018-03-01
Availability unrestricted
This paper will discuss therapeutic outlets as a potential and viable treatment option for alleviating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans. This paper will also discuss what the pursuit of these treatments looks like. This paper begins with a literature review. It will address the background of veterans, discuss PTSD within the veteran community, and explain the concept of therapeutic outlets, which are activities or engagements that promote mental well-being but are outside of the realm of prescription drugs. Next, this paper will analyze the results of the literature review and discuss the current standard of care for treating PTSD in the veteran community and how it could be improved upon. The results showed that there was a desire by veterans to pursue alternative treatments to replace or supplement prescription medication. The discussion and conclusions sections will address some of the issues facing veterans with mental illness including stigma, adverse side effects from antidepressants, and institutional pressure. I argue that improving upon the current standard of care offered to veterans afflicted with PTSD will reduce comorbidities, homelessness, unemployment rates, and social relationship strife. I also argue that because the military lifestyle is rooted in goal and mission orientation, skills training, and pursuing mental and physical fitness, therapeutic outlets will be desirable and effective among the veteran community. In future endeavors, it will be important to assess how health care providers and mental wellness professionals can safely and effectively incorporate therapeutic outlets into the mental rehabilitation process veterans undergo as they assimilate back into civilian society.
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