In recent years, several guidelines in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder have been put into practice globally. Practice guidelines across the health sphere are very important in guiding the care people receive. Although there is a high level of consensus on these guidelines among practitioners, there are also differences that can lead to confusion among providers, patients, and purchasers of mental health services for people affected by trauma. A new article in the Journal of Traumatic Stress written by the international leaders in PTSD treatment, compares and contrasts the various guidelines, and explain the reasons for the differences.
Lead author Dr. David Forbes, "We want our treatments to be based on the best available research evidence. Several guidelines have been published around the world that describe best practice interventions for people who have developed posttraumatic stress disorder. While there is some consistency across these guidelines, there are also important points of difference. This can be confusing for those using the guidelines, whether they are clinicians, people affected by trauma, or service planners such as government. It is sometimes hard for them to understand why these guidelines differ and which of the recommendations are most appropriate for their requirements."
This paper reports on the existing treatment research, pulling together and explaining previous reviews. This research will help clinicians make decisions as to which guidelines are most relevant for their work and, where there is disagreement, which recommendations to follow. The paper emphasizes the international consensus that trauma focused psychological interventions are the most effective treatments of choice for posttraumatic stress disorder.
Ultimately, a better understanding of the best way to treat PTSD will help to reduce confusion in relation to differences in these guidelines, and ensure that survivors of trauma receive the best possible care.
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"A Guide to Guidelines for the Treatment of PTSD and Related Conditions." David Forbes, et. al. Journal of Traumatic Stress; Published Online: September 13, 2010. DOI:10.1002/jts.20569