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Health Services Research & Development

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Spotlight on Evidence Synthesis Program

Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


by Jennifer Strauss, PhD ; John Williams, Jr., MD, MHSc
Seminar date: 2/29/2012

Description: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the emotional disorder most frequently associated with combat and other potentially traumatic experiences that may occur during military service. It is often chronic and may be associated with significant comorbidities and functional impairments. Current first-line PTSD therapies include trauma-focused cognitive behavioral psychotherapies, stress inoculation training, and pharmacotherapies. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions include a range of therapies that are not considered standard to the practice of medicine in the U.S. CAM therapies are widely used by mental health consumers, including Veterans, and numerous stakeholders have expressed strong interest in fostering the evidence base for these approaches in PTSD. Thus, this evidence synthesis was requested by VA Research and Development to inform decisions on the need for research in this area.

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