Monday, July 30, 2012

Writing About a Trauma Can Weaken Its Effects

Writing about a trauma one experienced can counter posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), at least in individuals experiencing PTSD provoked by a motor-vehicle accident, a study reported July 20 in Behavior Research and Therapy suggests. The study assessed 46 subjects with a diagnosis of accident-related PTSD, randomly assigned to either the writing intervention or a wait list. Significantly fewer writing subjects met diagnostic criteria for PTSD at evaluations conducted 18 weeks after baseline assessments, when compared with wait-list subjects. The study was headed by Denise Sloan, Ph.D., of the National Center for PTSD in Boston.

That study adds to other noteworthy PTSD studies that have recently been reported. In one such study, researchers found that giving trauma survivors cognitive therapy shortly after the trauma or waiting a few months to begin the therapy yielded similar results. In another study, this one conducted with survivors of a devastating earthquake, genes that control the production of serotonin were associated with PTSD symptoms, pointing to a potential biomarker for PTSD. See Psychiatric News here and here.

(Image: Pakhnyushcha/


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