Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans

Jul 01, 2010 By Carolyn Pennington

( -- A psychiatry professor at the UConn Health Center is comparing two treatment approaches for PTSD.

Researchers at the UConn Health Center are conducting a study comparing two treatments for (PTSD) and problems with anger in men who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Julian Ford, associate professor of psychiatry, an expert on PTSD, is the principal investigator. The study is funded by 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 , particularly due to problems with anger,” says Ford, “but with timely and effective treatment these problems can be overcome.”

A recent study found that more than half of the veterans diagnosed with moderate to severe PTSD symptoms reported at least one act of aggression in the previous four months (versus 20 percent of the veterans with mild or no PTSD symptoms), and one in three reported having threatened someone with violence (versus one in 10 with mild or no PTSD symptoms).

“Psychotherapies that have been found to be effective in treating PTSD in the past now need to be tested with returning Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom personnel and veterans,” Ford says, “so these men can resume their lives without going through years of suffering, as too many military veterans have in the past.”

The study will test the efficacy of a widely used PTSD , known as 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 seven-step “FREEDOM” process developed by Ford.

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

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).

Explore further: Religious music brings benefit to seniors' mental health

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Many veterans not getting enough treatment for PTSD

Feb 10, 2010

Although the Department of Veteran Affairs is rolling out treatments nationwide as fast as possible to adequately provide for newly diagnosed PTSD patients, there are still significant barriers to veterans getting a full ...

Metabolic syndrome a risk for veterans with PTSD

Jan 08, 2009

Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to have metabolic syndrome than veterans without PTSD, according to a study led by Pia Heppner, Ph.D., psychologist with the University of California, San ...

Study re-examines Vietnam stress disorder

Aug 18, 2006

A review of an 18-year-old U.S. study of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by Vietnam veterans found sharply fewer were affected than originally reported.

Recommended for you

Religious music brings benefit to seniors' mental health

Apr 18, 2014

A new article published online in The Gerontologist reports that among older Christians, listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in life satisfaction, self-e ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.