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Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Best against PTSD Plus Drinking Disorder

A new study discovers that veterans who suffer from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with alcohol use disorder, the type of psychotherapy prescribed for them can make a big difference in their recovery rates. As per the researchers at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, prolonged exposure therapy is best against PTSD plus drinking disorder, instead of the coping skills therapy in helping such veteran patients.

The study leader Sonya Norman said that the primary conclusion of this research according to her was that it would be a disservice to veterans if they didn’t get the best treatments available for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder like prolonged exposure therapy. Moreover, Norman and her colleagues said that the verdict could guide and care for numerous veterans who were suffering from PTSD combined with the drinking issue, which sometimes occurred together.

Drinking disorder always doesn’t reach the level of alcoholism that is the term utilized for describing somebody who completely depends on alcohol. The research incorporated 119 patients having alcohol use disorder and PTSD. A few patients accessed prolonged exposure therapy whereas others got Seeking Safety, a coping skills therapy.

After receiving prolonged exposure therapy, patients slowly face situations, feelings, and memories associated with the trauma caused by their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The aim is to confront them without feeling stressed and anxious. And it is the basic rule for PTSD treatment.

A large number of patients, having alcohol use disorder and PTSD, have accepted Seeking Safety that concentrates mainly on coping skills instead of exposure. Both therapies caused fewer days of heavy drinking and reduced PTSD symptoms; however, the researchers in the group of prolonged exposure therapy had undoubtedly reduced PTSD system scores and increased PTSD reduction rates.

In a VA news release, the study authors said almost 22% of prolonged exposure therapy patients and 7% of patients in the coping skills group accomplished PTSD reduction immediately after getting treated. And the rates were 25% vs. 6%, respectively, at a three-month follow-up. According to the findings, the rates were 33% vs. 15% after 6 months.

According to the report published on 24th April in JAMA Psychiatry, patients in both groups had the same remissions in heavy alcohol consumption days after treatment. Some experts had have queries regarding the utilization of exposure therapy for these patients. Nevertheless Norman, a VA researcher and psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Diego said that the study was not showing any concern that patients with PTSD and drinking disorder could not deal with exposure to be true.

In the press release, Norman also said that the next level of this study was to learn the ways of making prolonged exposure even more competent for patients suffering from PTSD and alcohol use disorder. They were conducting research where they were pairing medication to help lower drinking with prolonged exposure to see whether the combination helped patients benefit from prolonged exposure treatment.

In case you need more details regarding this therapy for PTSD, feel free to stay in touch with Robert Antoine!

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