Trauma-Based PTSD Therapies Help Only One-Third of Patients

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects many veterans returning from active duty. Popular therapy has focused on trauma-based programs favored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense. However, a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that these therapies were only effective in about one-third of the veterans who were tested.

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The researchers say the results show that there needs to be more flexibility in the therapies offered to veterans with PTSD. They stated that the favored therapies helped some veterans, but more options were needed as veterans respond differently to trauma-based therapy and not always successfully.

The VA countered the study by stating that it was inaccurate in how it characterized the VA methods and ignored competing evidence that trauma-based therapies including cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure are the most effective therapies for PTSD. The VA also stated they offer both trauma-based and non-trauma-based therapies as well as medications to help veterans with PTSD. They also stated that many vets receive other treatments such as yoga or meditation along with trauma-based therapy.

Per the VA website:

Cognitive processing therapy

“Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is one specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a 12-session psychotherapy for PTSD. CPT teaches you how to evaluate and change the upsetting thoughts you have had since your trauma. By changing your thoughts, you can change how you feel.”

Prolonged exposure therapy

“Prolonged Exposure (PE) is psychotherapy for PTSD. It is one specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. PE teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations that you have been avoiding since your trauma. By confronting these challenges, you can actually decrease your PTSD symptoms.”

If you are a veteran or member of a veteran’s family dealing with PTSD or other medical issues related to deployment, Operation Rubix offers a network of treatment options so veterans and families can feel safe and trust their providers. We work hard to provide both traditional and alternative therapies so more veterans receive positive outcomes and a better quality of life. For more information about our available services please call 941-777-8387.


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