Treating veterans' PTSD with acupuncture

As we celebrate veterans and military families this month, it’s gratifying to learn that the VA is offering its patients some exciting new programs to help them deal with PTSD.

Recently, I profiled on a groundbreaking program at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. The hospital provides a wide array of services to veterans — but the Acupuncture PTSD Clinic is unique.

It’s a holistic approach to treating anxiety, anger and addiction through acupuncture. Dr. Jeremiah Krieger heads up the clinic. The clinic is run in collaboration with the Emperor’s College of Traditional Medicine in Santa Monica.

During my time there, I met three outstanding veterans who shared their stories of service on and off the battlefield. I was touched by their bravery. All of them expressed a deep pride of service to their country.

But that service came at a cost. Veterans told me once they returned home, they felt out of control. They experienced depression, isolation and addiction to alcohol and drugs. Some felt disconnected from their families. Others angered easily.

Dr. Krieger calls recovery from PTSD the " second battlefield." In this theatre, veterans fight their personal demons. The goal is to function again as private citizens and to heal from the trauma of war.  It was as honor to meet these three veterans.