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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that can affect people who have experienced life-threatening events. This condition, so often associated with combat traumas, also affects many Americans who have lived through other types of traumatic events, such as car crashes or other serious accidents, fires, or natural disasters. Further improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD is a top priority for the VA Research program. VA investigators have recently conducted some of the most pivotal research in the field. Today, Veterans with PTSD can benefit from many effective treatments which were developed and refined over the years in large part due to VA research.

VA Research supports numerous studies designed to understand, treat, and prevent PTSD. These studies range from investigations of the genetic or biochemical underpinnings of the disease to evaluations of new or existing treatments, including large multisite clinical trials. The National Center for PTSD is a VA consortium of research centers focusing solely on the condition.

Some VA studies have improved Veterans’ lives through psychotherapeutic approaches to treat their PTSD symptoms. In one study, VA researchers showed that prolonged exposure therapy in which therapists help patients recall their trauma under controlled conditions was effective in reducing PTSD symptoms in women Veterans who experienced sexual trauma in the military.

“My quality of life has improved 200-fold,” says Jennifer Olds, a Veteran of the first Gulf War who participated in the study. “The research opportunity really made a significant impact on my ability to get through life.”

To complement psychotherapeutic techniques for treating PTSD, researchers sometimes use computer-simulated “virtual reality” to recreate a Veteran’s memories of traumatic events.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/207807.php



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