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Recently the Veterans Health Administration has recognized Recreation Therapy as an adjunct therapy under the Rehabilitation Medicine Service Office and urged community non-profits to undertake similar programs for veterans of all eras.

At the Veterans Multi-Purpose Center, we have been conducting outdoor programs of Recreational Therapy for years. We were established in 1989 and received our IRS tax exempt 501 (C)(3) status in 1992. We are registered, licensed and fully insured in the state of Florida. We are an all-volunteer organization. No one receives payment for their services and all programs we provide are free and funded by a caring community. The complexity and interdependence of each veteran’s physiological, psychological, social, emotional, and social needs are now recognized and therapeutic recreation has developed into a specialized professional field. The old image of “fun and games” has changed to one of therapy.

Studies prove Participation in Outdoor Recreation Programs Improves Psycho-social Well-Being Among Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Substance abuse disorders and readjustment disorder:

A debilitating condition, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), afflicts an estimated 7.7 million American adults, according to the National Institutes of Health. Amid this population are those who acquired the disorder in combat. Current estimates from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs state that PTSD affects about 30% of Vietnam veterans, 10% of Gulf War veterans, 11% of Afghanistan veterans, and 20% of veterans returning from Iraq. PTSD is characterized by symptoms resulting from traumatic event experience. These symptoms include recurring and distressing memories of trauma, hyper-arousal, and avoidance of stimuli that trigger traumatic memories. Due in part to this clustering of symptoms, PTSD has high comorbidities with anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and sleep disturbances.  Consequently, those with PTSD have been known to engage in avoidance coping strategies, such as alcohol and drug abuse, to ameliorate the symptomology associated with the condition.

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