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OVAHCS offers innovative approach to heal Veterans from trauma

Army Veteran, Kurt Williams
OVAHCS offers innovative approach to heal Veterans from trauma

The Orlando VA Health Care System’s (OVAHCS) somatic treatment program is a new initiative that focuses on treating treatment-resistant mental health disorders using non-pharmacological techniques such as Electroconvulsive Therapy and Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Under the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Esketamine and Ketamine infusions are also included in this program along with other newer and less evidence-based treatments.

Treatment resistance is defined as lack of adequate symptom response to at least 2 traditional pharmacological interventions and augmentation strategies with therapy or other types of medications.

Psychiatrist, Dr. Roopa Chavda explains that “at the OVAHCS, the somatic treatment program is comprised of three treatment regimens. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), and Intranasal Esketamine which are offered to patients who undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation, and who have received a medical clearance by their provider.” 

According to Chavda, the results of the somatic treatment program have been promising. “Many Veterans who have participated in the program report significant improvements in their symptoms related to their mental health disorders ,” she said. “Overall Veterans report that they feel able to improve previously debilitating symptoms and regain their social and occupational functioning in their life”.

“The somatic treatment program has been life-changing for me,” says Kurt Williams, an Army Veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “It helped me reconnect with my body and learn how to regulate my emotions. I feel like I finally have the tools I need to heal from my trauma.”

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