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Health Center Today, February 1, 2011

Ongoing Study Compares Treatments for PTSD - Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Needed

By Carolyn Pennington

A unique research study comparing two treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is ongoing and continuing to seek men who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to participate in the study. Julian Ford, Ph.D., principal investigator for the study, says,“We know that PTSD interferes with all important walks of life for returning military personnel, particularly due to problems with anger, but with timely and effective treatment these problems can be overcome.”

It's estimated that as many as 2,500 or more male Connecticut military personnel or veterans may require help with PTSD and problems with anger after returning home.

“Psychotherapies that have been found to be effective in treating PTSD in the past now need to be tested, so these men can resume their lives without going through years of suffering as too many military veterans have in the past,” explains Ford.

The study, which has received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice,will test the efficacy of a widely used PTSD psychotherapy, Prolonged Exposure (PE), and a newer PTSD psychotherapy designed to enhance skills for managing anger and other emotions—Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET). PE teaches stress management skills and helps the person to resolve the troubling memories that occur in PTSD. TARGET explains how the body’s stress reactions can be adjusted with focused and mindful thinking, using a 7-step “FREEDOM” process developed by Ford.

Men who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and are troubled by stress reactions and anger are invited to call 860-679-2587 to learn more about the study. Participation involves confidential interviews and 10 sessions of psychotherapy at no cost.