New therapy helping veterans with headaches and memory loss
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – A new therapy has been developed specifically for headaches in veterans with brain injuries.
Memory loss and headaches continue to plague Army veteran Michael Gater nearly 18 years after suffering three head injuries while deployed to Iraq.
“Someone took an explosive satchel, threw it at the vehicle and it exploded,” he recalls.
Then, Michael’s military vehicle swerved to avoid a fleeing truck which overturned, suspending him in the air.
“I unbuckled my harness and when I unbuckled it I fell headfirst into the driver’s hatch.”
The third hit was a fuel hatch that hit him in the head.
These three incidents triggered 20 years of debilitating headaches and memory loss. That is, until he participated in a groundbreaking cognitive-behavioral study conducted by UT Health San Antonio.
This is called cognitive behavioral therapy for headaches or CBTH. Researchers have modified the psychotherapy treatment traditionally used for migraine sufferers.
The researchers say, “Not only did we see better results for headaches, which was kind of expected, but we showed improvements in PTSD comparable to a gold standard for PTSD treatment.
During therapy, trained clinical psychologists taught vets how to prevent their headache triggers, manage stress, and resume daily activities.
Now Michael says he strives to pass this information on to others like him: “My mission is to help my veteran community and what I love to do is all I do. learn, I pass it on.”
The researchers are now looking to replicate their findings in a more diverse sample. They plan to test CBTH in a larger trial at multiple military and VA sites across the United States.
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