Study demands more research for PTSD

Some treatments show promise but data lacking

WASHINGTON - After a four-year study commissioned by Congress, the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., concluded that there are many programs addressing post-traumatic stress disorder, but no one can tell how effective they are.

"We found in the study that some programs do work, but quite a few service members don't like them and therefore don't go to them," said Elspeth Ritchie with Georgetown University and a former Army colonel.

"We looked at established therapies, as well as what I call innovative therapies like yoga and acupuncture," she added.

They also studied a procedure called stellate ganglion block where an anesthetic is injected into the neck. SGB has been used to block chronic pain receptors but it also has an impact on those with post-traumatic stress.

While promising, "There is still much we don't know, that is one shot enough, two or repeated treatments but at what interval?" said Maryam Navaie with Advance Health Solutions, which conducted its own study on SGB.

The Institute of Medicine study concluded that despite all the programs for post-traumatic stress disorder, the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs have no mechanism to collect, analyze or disseminate data as to the quality of PTSD care.

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