Optimal treatment for post traumatic stress disorder
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Though recognized previously as “shell shock” or “combat neurosis” Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that was first introduced in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980. Diagnosis of PTSD requires the experience of a traumatic event followed by symptoms including avoidance, hyperarousal, re-experiencing, numbing and intense fear. The current treatment options include psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Brain stimulation is also emerging as an effective treatment option. The most widely studied and successful treatment is termed Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE). This involves the therapeutic repetition of the traumatic experience in order for the patient to understand that they are no longer in danger. Despite the effectiveness of PE, many individuals continue to suffer from PTSD. There are several obstacles between research and practice, as well as barriers to care for those suffering from PTSD. Even when evidence based practice is applied to those in need, there is still a high rate of treatment failures. Further research must be done to determine the best course of treatment for the increasing number of individuals suffering from PTSD.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University