The first residential clinic for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Western Canada is open in Kelowna and Richmond, by Diversified Rehabilitation Group Inc., an Okanagan-based rehabilitation and disability management company.
Dr. Gordon Davidson, registered psychologist and clinical director of the program, said that hundreds of thousands of Canadians are affected by PTSD.
“Incidents that can put individuals at risk for PTSD include serious physical injuries, motor vehicle accidents, robberies, violence or assaults, bullying or harassment, exposure to trauma for first responders and health care providers, and combat exposure for soldiers,” he said. “While most people recover from a traumatic event within a few months, a subset of individuals go on to develop PTSD.”
Common features of PTSD include flashbacks and nightmares related to the incident, emotional numbness or depression, and avoidance or phobias related to reminders of the incident. Other symptoms include cognitive problems, such as memory and concentration difficulties, as well as increased irritability.
The cost to the Canadian economy of lost days of work related to PTSD runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The new, one-month program will include daily treatment by a team of professionals with scientifically supported treatments like biofeedback. Participants will use desensitization methods to overcome their fears of returning to the workplace. If anxieties are too significant to return to the original job, the program will assist participants in finding other areas of employment that are more suitable.
There will be a strong focus on education for participants and their families.
“PTSD has become a global health issue. The goal of the program is the restoration of community functioning and wellbeing of the individuals who have PTSD,” said Derek Sienko, owner of Diversified Rehabilitation Group. Inc. “The interventions focus on helping the individuals to develop coping skills and empower them to access resources needed to increase their capacity to be successful and satisfied at work, home and in their social environment.”
The Kelowna residential program may also be accessed on a daily basis by people living nearby. The Vernon office will provide non-residential trauma service.
The program will also serve as a training site for university students in clinical programs and deliver training programs for employers in managing and supporting employees who have PTSD.
For more information see www.diversifiedrehab.ca.