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Recent VA News Releases
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release, please visit the following Internet address: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrelVA 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.
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
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.
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 Administration.
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.