SAN ANTONIO “This is an important step in helping those who post traumatic syndrome.
Clinical study conducted in part UT Health San Antonio shows great progress in the rapid and effective treatment of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s incredibly helpful. I feel like I’m doing the most important job of my life,” said Dr. Alan Peterson.
Alan Peterson, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UT Health San Antonio. He is also the Director of the STRONG STAR Consortium, a state and federally funded PTSD research group led by UT Health San Antonio, and of the CAP, the Post Traumatic Stress Relief Consortium, led by UT Health San Antonio and the VA National Center for post-traumatic stress.
As a US Air Force veteran, Peterson knows all too well about the men and women who suffer from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Having actually seen the horrors of war with traumatic brain injuries and many severe psychological, physical injuries, I realized that we must do something,” he said.
Peterson and scientists around the country worked together on this research to use old tools in new ways.
“Long-term contact. This is usually done with a single treatment session once a week for two, three or four months,” Peterson said.
This technique is more intense, with two different hands to explore.
According to an article published on JAMA Network“The interventions were a mass PE that included 15 therapy sessions of 90 minutes each for 3 weeks, compared to an intensive outpatient PE program (IOP-PE) that included 15 therapy sessions all day for 3 weeks with 8 therapy sessions augmentations.”
Peterson said: “This is the first study to actually use this approach. Let’s evaluate the first three traumas and then focus on the least disturbing trauma, the second most anxious, and then finally move on to the most disturbing trauma.”
Tabatha Blount, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UT Health San Antonio. A clinical psychologist, she is a research therapist in several STRONG STAR and CAP clinical trials, including the currently published study.
Blount works regularly with service members receiving treatment for PTSD and knows how isolating combat can be.
“What this treatment does for many people is to expand hope so that they can continue to live. And as you get older, PTSD takes up less of a place in your life,” Blount said.
This clinical trial had a 75% success rate and involved more than 200 military personnel.
Similar studies show that the likelihood of recurrence of symptoms is low even within 10 years.
But the work is not done yet, as it is not a cure for post-traumatic stress disorder.
“You know, we keep moving forward, pushing the boundaries further and further to get better results,” said Peterson.
They make sure no one is left behind.
“The next step is to figure out the remaining 25%. For example, I don’t think it’s good enough to end up here,” Blount said.
Other clinical studies will be conducted as they have not yet achieved 100% success rate in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
You can find information about these studies here.
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