VA, DoD recommended PTSD therapies don’t help many military patients, review finds
Marine Corps Times
February 4, 2020
Pfc. Linaeja White, a health care specialist with Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, scrunches up her face April 2, 2018, during a Mindfulness Monday class at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Therapies such as transcendental meditation have been found to be effective in treating PTSD. (Sgt. Elizabeth White/Army)
The psychotherapy approaches considered by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to be front-line treatments for military-related PTSD don’t work for up to two-thirds of patients, a new report published in JAMA Insights finds.
Cognitive processing therapy, or CPT, and prolonged exposure therapy, PE, are two approaches for treating post-traumatic stress disorder that focus on a patient’s traumatic experiences and helps them process the memories associated with the horrific events.
But a review of results from several large clinical studies conducted since 2015 on military personnel and veterans, researchers with New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine found these psychotherapies have limited success in these patients, despite recommendation as preferred treatments in the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder.
In fact, according to the review published Jan. 30 by JAMA, interventions that don’t focus on traumatic events, such as present-centered talk therapy, transcendental meditation and medication, seem to work about as well as emotionally charged PE and CPT.
“Overall, these new findings suggest that first-line psychotherapies do not effectively treat military-related PTSD in large proportions of patients and do not outperform non-trauma-focused interventions,” wrote lead author Maria Steenkamp, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Grossman.
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It took them a while to report it...but glad they finally did!