Do you have active-duty patients who require more intensive PTSD treatment than you can provide? Have you had patients complain that they couldn’t do treatment assignments because of work or home responsibilities, despite sincere motivation? Do you have PTSD patients who are resistant to psychotherapy groups because the other patients “won’t understand” them? Have you had patients who required residential PTSD treatment but whose command wouldn’t approve a Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) to a civilian facility?
The Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support (OASIS) program at Naval Medical Center San Diego may be the answer.
Trauma-focused treatment for PTSD is offered at just about every military treatment facility and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility at some level, whether it is outpatient appointments or groups, intensive outpatient programs, psychoeducational classes, or crisis intervention encounters or admissions. Residential PTSD treatment is offered at several VA and private facilities nationwide. However, a gap in care remains. VA programs often don’t accept active-duty service members, and private sector programs are expensive, often far from the service member’s duty station, and generally unfamiliar with military-specific needs with regard to dispositioning, medication management, and future realities involving safety, social support, and financial stability.
These limitations can exacerbate the sense of stigma attached to a PTSD diagnosis and reluctance of service members and commands to ask for or agree to a longer-term, more intensive treatment experience.
The military lifestyle, which can be stressful, unpredictable, and difficult on families at the best of times, can turn moderate, easily treatable PTSD symptoms into a devastating, complex psychological, medical, and social condition. How well a treatment program aligns service members’ needs with military service requirements may determine the nature of the rest of their lives.
OASIS is designed to reduce symptoms and enhance social and occupational functioning for active-duty service men and women dealing with PTSD secondary to combat/operationally-related trauma. OASIS is free for service members; commands pay only for transportation to and from the program.
Length of treatment is dependent on service members’ needs and capabilities and determined by the OASIS treatment team. Most residents receive a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of eight and half weeks of treatment.
Multiple evidence-based group and individual therapy approaches are available, including prolonged exposure therapy (PE), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and brief behavioral therapy for insomnia (BBTI).
OASIS also offers psychiatric medication management, dual diagnosis treatment, a specialized moral injury program, recreation therapy, family resilience training and therapy options, occupational therapy assessment and treatment, a “combat arts” program, yoga, meditation training, and unique in-vivo experiences to practice skills in groups and individually in beautiful San Diego. OASIS providers and case managers provide continuity and coordination of care transitioning from more intense to less intense levels of care, through warm hand-offs, active communication, and collaborative planning.
The OASIS treatment model is founded on the premise that traumatic stress injuries are normal occurrences after some experiences and can be treated effectively, with return to full duty as the ultimate goal whenever possible. OASIS operates within a military treatment setting that honors military culture and tradition, reducing incongruence between the treatment setting and military life. Its mix of civilian and military providers work to minimize the stress of transitioning from treatment back into a healthy lifestyle.
If you have a patient who may be a good fit for OASIS, contact the OASIS Administration Office at 619-524-9605 or the Division Officer at 619-553-0704.
Find VA/DoD clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of PTSD and associated clinical support tools on the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder page.
The views expressed in Clinician's Corner blogs are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Deployment Health Clinical Center or Department of Defense.