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Va Agrees With Iom Study



"Recent VA News Releases

VA Agrees with Key Points about PTSD Treatment

In New Institute of Medicine Report

WASHINGTON (October 18, 2007) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

today agreed with a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report finding

exposure-based therapies for the treatment of post-traumatic stress

disorder (PTSD) to be effective.

The report released today by the IOM Committee on Treatment of PTSD

concluded among its key findings that exposure-based therapies such as

prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy have proven

to be effective treatments for PTSD, while more research is needed on

pharmacotherapy to determine its effectiveness.

"VA is pleased to see IOM agrees with us that exposure-based therapies

are effective treatments for PTSD," said Dr. Antonette Zeiss, VA's

Deputy Chief of Mental Health Services. "VA has been making the

therapies readily available, even before the IOM report was released."

Prolonged exposure therapy utilizes techniques to promote confrontation

with feared objects, situations, memories and images. It involves use

of psychoeducation, breathing retraining, prolonged exposure to the

memory of the trauma through imaginary reliving, and repeated exposure

to safe situations being avoided because of traumatic fear.

Cognitive process therapy involves psychoeducation; written exposure in

which patients write about the impact of trauma on themselves and others

and interpret traumatic events; challenging patient's interpretations of

traumatic events and cognitive restructuring of their beliefs that have

been disrupted by traumatic events.

Dr. Zeiss said VA began developing training about a year ago for its

mental health professionals in the use of exposure-based therapies,

starting with cognitive processing therapy and now including prolonged

exposure therapy.

In fact, VA's Dr. Patricia Resick, head of the Women's Division of the

National Center for PTSD in Boston, is a leading researcher in cognitive

processing therapy. And the leading researcher in prolonged exposure

therapy is Dr. Edna Foa, who helps train VA mental health professionals.

Dr. Zeiss said VA also concurs with other key conclusions of the report

that more research is needed about pharmacotherapy as an effective

treatment. It is important to note, Dr. Zeiss said, the IOM conclusion

states only more research is needed, not that medications have been

found to be ineffective.

VA provides treatment for PTSD through cognitive and exposure-based

therapies, with the use of drugs approved by the Food and Drug


VA is a recognized international leader in treatment and research for

PTSD. In 1989, the Department created the National Center for PTSD,

which promotes research, trains health care professionals and serves as

an information resource for researchers and clinicians around the world."

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