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Overcoming PTSD: Effective Therapy for Military Personnel and Veterans


Clinical trial finds effective therapy for military personnel in treating PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that affects many military personnel and veterans who have experienced combat-related trauma. Finding efficient and effective treatments for PTSD is crucial. A clinical trial compared two types of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy for combat-related PTSD: massed PE and intensive outpatient program PE (IOP-PE). The trial aimed to determine which therapy was better at reducing PTSD symptoms.

Key Findings

The trial involved 234 military personnel and veterans. The results showed positive outcomes for both therapy groups. After one month, 61% of participants experienced significant reductions in PTSD symptoms as assessed by clinicians, and 74% reported feeling better according to their own self-assessments. There were no significant differences between the two therapies. Importantly, more than 50% of participants in both groups maintained their improvement even after six months.

Understanding the Therapies

  1. Massed-PE: This therapy involved 15 sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, over a period of three weeks.

  2. IOP-PE: The intensive outpatient program consisted of 15 full-day therapy sessions over three weeks, with additional treatment sessions. Researchers thought this therapy would be better than massed PE.

The trial suggests that both massed-PE and IOP-PE are effective therapies for combat-related PTSD. Both therapies significantly reduced PTSD symptoms, as reported by both the clinicians and the participants themselves.



The findings have important implications for the treatment of combat-related PTSD:

  1. Time Efficiency: Both therapies provide a quicker way to receive treatment for combat-related PTSD. With the compressed formats, individuals can complete the therapy within a relatively short period.

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  • Effectiveness: The trial demonstrated that both therapies led to significant reductions in PTSD symptoms. This means that individuals seeking treatment can expect positive results, regardless of which therapy they choose.

  • Maintaining Improvement: More than half of the participants maintained their improvement even six months after treatment. This shows that the benefits gained from the therapy can last in the long term.

  • Acceptance of Treatment: The trial indicates that both therapies are well-received and feasible for combat-related PTSD patients. The high participation rates and significant symptom reductions demonstrate that these therapies can effectively address the needs of military personnel and veterans.

  • Conclusion

    Combat-related PTSD can have a profound impact on the lives of military personnel and veterans. The clinical trial comparing massed-PE and IOP-PE therapies provides promising evidence for the effectiveness of prolonged exposure therapy in combat-related PTSD.

    Both therapies were found to be fast and effective in reducing PTSD symptoms, with no significant differences between them. Moreover, more than half of the participants maintained their improvement even six months later. These findings highlight the potential of these therapy formats to offer efficient and impactful interventions for combat-related PTSD.

    Further research is needed to explore the long-term benefits and effectiveness of these therapies. By providing accessible and effective treatment options, we can continue to support the mental well-being of military personnel and veterans, helping them lead fulfilling lives beyond their service.


    JAMA Network, Jan-05-23
    ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03529435

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    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.