PTSD Resources for Non-Vets Need Improvement

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Research and resources geared toward non-veterans is not sufficient enough to help them.
Research and resources geared toward non-veterans is not sufficient enough to help them.

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may vary significantly based on whether the patient was a veteran or not.

Judith Bentkover, PhD, Brown University School of Public Policy, Providence, R.I., and colleagues reviewed the academic and economic research literature on civilian PTSD treatment as well as consumer-oriented websites.

While some research and resources geared toward nonveterans is available, it is not sufficient to help non-veterans or their clinicians compare and access treatment that is best for them., the reported in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

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"For the other people affected by PTSD — victims of sexual assault, child abuse and natural disasters — there really isn't an organized body of research that generates guidance for how they and their caregivers should deal with their PTSD," Bentkover said in a statement. "The research that there is to date doesn't provide a robust evidence base for treating PTSD in specific vulnerable subpopulations, by either sociodemographic cohort or by cause of PTSD."

"And where there are some good studies, we need better ways of organizing, synthesizing, retrieving, and translating the information we do have so that all treatment providers, patients, and caregivers can benefit from this knowledge."

One of the reasons for a lack of guidance in treating PTSD in  non-veterans is that relatively few studies have been conducted in that population examining treatment delivery.

"A major finding of the authors' search for nonmilitary service providers is that there is no centralized listing of PTSD providers, treatment programs, and support programs at the state or local level and limited listings at the federal level," the researchers wrote.

They also provide several recommendations, as follows:

  • further research on treatment outcomes, access, and costs;
  • uniform measures across such studies to ensure comparability and standard means of indexing to improve information discovery;
  • pursuing research related to specific causes (such as violent crime) and populations (such as women or children);and
  • establishing a patient-centered institute to marshal and maintain resources and best practices for treatment.

Reference

Bentkover JD, et al. Consumer Information and Treatment Resources for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Within Reach but Not Grasp. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2015; 23(6):426-437.

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