Montana veterans can now access affordable hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to address mental health issues related to brain injuries and PTSD. This new program aims to support veterans by reducing inflammation and improving mental health through HBOT, a treatment that delivers high levels of oxygen to the bloodstream, enhancing the body’s natural healing processes.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been shown to alleviate symptoms of PTSD and traumatic brain injuries by reducing brain inflammation and improving overall brain function. Research indicates that HBOT can significantly aid in the recovery from these conditions by promoting cellular repair and reducing oxidative stress in the brain and other tissues.

This initiative is crucial, given that nearly 40% of Montana veterans struggle with mental health challenges and the state’s veteran suicide rate exceeds the national average. By making HBOT more accessible, the program offers a lifeline to veterans in need of effective treatment options.

Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of HBOT in treating various conditions, including those commonly affecting veterans. For instance, a study published in the journal Medical Gas Research found that HBOT can reduce PTSD symptoms by decreasing inflammation and enhancing neurogenesis. Another study in the Journal of Neurotrauma highlighted the benefits of HBOT in improving cognitive function and reducing symptoms in patients with traumatic brain injuries.

MISSOULA, Mont. – Brain Injury Alliance of Montana (BIAMT) launched a new program that will provide an affordable option for Montana veterans to receive Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in order to help manage brain injuries and mental health issues.

According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, around 40% of veterans in Montana struggle with mental health issues that could root from brain injuries, like concussions, or from PTSD. Montana veterans also have a higher suicide rate than the national average.

“To be able to do anything that we possibly can to make those conditions and those symptoms less prevalent with the individuals that are struggling with them, that’s our goal with the support program,” said John Bigart III, Executive Director of BIAMT.

One of the ways to help veterans deal with these difficulties is through HBOT therapy, where the individual enters a chamber for 60 to 90 minutes that pressurizes the oxygen inside, which helps ease brain issues like inflammation, migraines and depression.

“The oxygen under that pressurized environment can actually diffuse easier into the brain, allowing the brain and providing the brain with the oxygen levels it needs to actually rebuild those connections that might have been lost,” the HBOT Program Director of BIAMT, Hope Evens, explained.

This service is provided by many Montana health providers, but the cost of the therapy can add up very quickly. Individuals will likely have to do HBOT 20 times, with each session typically costing $125. So, BIAMT started the HBOT program so veterans can come to their facility and do the therapy at an affordable price.

“We’re going to start with a flat rate of $50 per session,” Bigart III explained.  If somebody can pay for that wonderful, but, for any reason, they can’t afford to pay, then they can pay whatever can.”

The organization is looking for more partners to fundraise this program, so they can eventually provide a mobile support service, where they would be able to transport the HBOT chamber to rural areas, allowing more vets across Montana to access the service.

Cited By: NonStop Local

Extivita, located in North Carolina, was one of the pioneering clinics to adopt HBOT for treating veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD. North Carolina set an early example in recognizing and implementing this treatment for veterans, which Montana is now following with their new program. By leading the way in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Extivita has significantly contributed to the growing recognition of this treatment’s benefits, paving the way for broader adoption and improved care for veterans across the country.