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Effectiveness of most PTSD therapies is uncertain
Date:10/18/2007

e urgent need for high-quality studies that can assist clinicians in providing the best possible care to veterans and others who suffer from this serious disorder."

PTSD is the most commonly diagnosed service-related mental disorder among military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Surveys of these individuals indicate that around 12.6 percent of personnel who fought in Iraq and 6.2 percent who were in Afghanistan have experienced PTSD. Moreover, significant proportions of Vietnam veterans and veterans of earlier conflicts also report suffering from PTSD. The vast majority of people who experience the disorder also have other concurrent conditions, such as alcoholism, depression, drug use, or anxiety disorders. Sexual assault during military service is another factor that can lead to PTSD among service members.

Clinicians turn to both drugs and psychotherapeutic interventions to treat PTSD. Anticonvulsants, antidepressants -- including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and novel antipsychotics such as olanzapine and risperidone are among the drugs used to treat these patients. Psychotherapies used in PTSD treatment include exposure to trauma-related memories or stimuli, cognitive therapy, coping skills training, and hypnosis.

The committee identified 90 studies that met its criteria for trials from which it could anticipate reliable and informative data on of PTSD therapies. However, several problems and limitations characterize much of the research on PTSD treatments, making the data less informative than expected. Many of the studies have problems in their design or how they were conducted, and high dropout rates -- ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent of participants -- reduced the certainty of several studies' results. Moreover, the majority of drug studies were funded by pharmaceutical firms and many of the psychotherapy studies were conducted by individ
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
Source:Eurekalert

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