Monday, July 16, 2012

Traumatic Image Exposure May Help Ward Off PTSD

An experimental intervention initiated in the emergency department within hours after a person has been traumatized can reduce PTSD symptoms one and three months later. This finding was reported by Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at Emory University, and colleagues July 6 in Biological Psychiatry. Their study included 137 traumatized subjects, half of whom had been randomized to receive the experimental intervention and half of whom  received a control intervention (assessment only). The experimental intervention included imagined exposure to the trauma memory, processing of the traumatic memory material, and image-exposure homework.

This is one of several interesting PTSD findings that were reported recently. For example, two variations of genes that control the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin have been linked to PTSD symptoms. Another PTSD study found that Vietnam War veterans are still struggling with PTSD symptoms more than 30 years later. For more information about these studies, see Psychiatric News here and here.

(Image: Andril Kondiuk/


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.