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

uals who developed the techniques or their close collaborators. Further investigation is needed to know whether these treatments would produce the same results if tested by other researchers and in other settings.

In addition, the research has not taken into account potential differences in the effectiveness of treatments for subgroups such as those with traumatic brain injury, depression, or substance abuse; nor have studies examined the effects in ethnic minorities, women, and older individuals. Many studies excluded individuals with concurrent health problems such as depression and substance abuse, raising questions about whether the results apply to the many PTSD sufferers who have multiple conditions.

VA and other government agencies that fund clinical research should make sure that studies of PTSD therapies take necessary steps and employ methods that would handle effectively problems that affect the quality of the results. Although the nature of PTSD presents special challenges to researchers, the committee did find some high-quality studies that show it is possible to overcome the problems.

Congress should ensure that resources are available for VA and other federal agencies to fund quality research on treatment of PTSD and that all stakeholders -- including veterans -- are represented in the research planning, the report said.

The committee emphasized that its role was solely to review what is known about the effectiveness of various PTSD treatments, and not to offer or suggest guidelines on what health care professionals or patients should do. Efficacy is one of many factors that contribute to making decisions about treatment. Other factors include safety, clinician and patient preferences, access and availability of different treatment options, and ethical issues.


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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
Source:Eurekalert

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