News Release

June 10, 2010

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Study for Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center are conducting a study comparing two treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and problems with anger in men who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Julian Ford, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, is the principal investigator for the study which has received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice.

More than 13,000 men and women from Connecticut have served in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq, of whom approximately 85 percent are men. Based on national studies, up to 40 percent of those men will develop a PTSD and at least half of those individuals will have problems with anger. That means 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.

“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,” says Ford.

The study 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. “We expect that both therapies will enable participants to overcome PTSD and the difficulties it causes with anger, and the study will test this scientifically,” explains Ford.

Men who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and are troubled by stress reactions and anger are invited to contact study coordinator, Michelle Slivinsky at 860-679-2214. Participation involves confidential interviews and 10 sessions of psychotherapy at no cost, at locations in West Hartford (UConn Health Partners, 65 Kane Street) and Farmington, (UConn Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue).

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