VA in Vermont Leading Study on PTSD Treatments

The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Vermont is leading a national study to compare two different treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The VA’s Paula Schnurr hopes the study will give therapists evidence-based guidelines based on demographic and other patient information. 

“An older woman who’s had sexual trauma might do better with one treatment and a younger man who’s had combat trauma and was also physically  abused in childhood might do better with another treatment,” Schnurr says.

One of the techniques is “cognitive processing,” which helps patients logically conclude they are not in danger. The other is called “prolonged exposure,” in which patients safely re-experience emotional trauma until the memories become manageable.

The study will cost $10 million and include include 17 VA locations. Studies show that about 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or both.

Full story from Vermont Public Radio. The Associated Press contributed to this report.