Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been shown to have a variety of negative health and mental health effects on those who are afflicted (Kessler et al., 2000), as well as negative effects on relationships with intimate partners and close relatives (Whisman, Sheldon, & Goering, 2000). Families are likely to be impacted by the specific nature of the sustained trauma.
There are currently several interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that meet the definition of “evidence-based therapies” as outlined by the Institute of Medicine (2012). The current chapter examines one such group of interventions: recreational therapy. Recreational therapy refers to treatments designed to help restore prior levels of functioning resulting from injury or illness, or to promote health and wellness.
In this volume, after a brief discussion of phenomenology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the current guidelines and clinical consensus surrounding treatment, and the limitations of available treatment supported by sufficient evidence necessary to receive endorsement in practice guidelines, we describe emerging treatments that demonstrate varying degrees of promise for relieving the suffering associated with PTSD.
Other definitions focus on resilience as a trait (eg, hardiness [Maddi, 2005]) or as an outcome trajectory, such as when individuals respond to a specific traumatic event without symptoms or with symptoms that dissipate quickly (Bonanno, Rennicke, & Dekel, 2005).
Canine-assisted therapies are being used increasingly both by veterans and the civilian community for mental and emotional support. During the past decade, a growing body of scientific research has provided evidence that human–animal interactions can improve social competence and reduce physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of stress and social isolation.
Recognizing the increasing need for more consolidated information on Complementary Alternative Medicine for the treatment of PTSD, Doctors Benedek and Wynn have contributed a ground-breaking and invaluable textbook for scholars and practitioners alike.
Expert treatment guidelines and consensus statements identified imaginal exposure therapy as a first-line treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more than a decade ago (Ballenger et al. 2000; Foa et al. 1999; Rothbaum et al. 2000b).