Effectiveness of Treatment for Veterans with PTSD


Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder among combat veterans has been in existence throughout recorded history. Many researchers have performed studies looking for ways to treat this disorder. This study uses prolonged exposure therapy, which is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, to treat 100 participants who are medically diagnosed with PTSD. It is my hypothesis that this form of treatment will drastically reduce symptom severity of PTSD. Using 100 participants, all being veterans of combat, we administered 10 sessions using prolonged exposure therapy. Questionnaires were administered at the beginning, middle, and end of the study to gauge the effectiveness of treatment. After analyzing the results of the t- tests based upon the answers of the questionnaires we found a reduction of symptoms in close to 80% of theparticipants that remained. After analyzing the data from this study and several others we concluded that prolonged exposure therapy is an effective means of treating those suffering from PTSD. With further testing and possibly other means of treatment such as eye movement desensitization and imagery rehearsal therapy along with PET, there is a chance for a cure.


Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder has been referenced throughout history, with its earliest references dating as far back as Homer’s Iliad and Shakespeare’s Henry IV, where each of the authors referred to traumatic experiences and the symptoms that followed. PTSD has been recorded as far back as 1761, where Austrian physician Josef Leopold “wrote about “nostalgia” among soldiers. Among those who were exposed to military trauma, some reported missing home, feeling sad, sleep problems, and anxiety. This description of PTSD-like symptoms was a model of psychological injury that existed into the Civil War” (Friedman, 2013). Although the symptoms were recognized very little had been done to diagnose the symptoms of PTSD inEffectiveness of Treatment 3soldiers. It wasn’t until The American Civil War, and the Franco- Prussian War, that people started to make formal medical attempts at addressing the problems of military veterans who have been exposed to combat. Some early diagnoses included shell shock, because it was thought that the soldiers symptoms were a reaction to the sounds of artillery shells exploding. “In World War II, the shell shock diagnosis was replaced by Combat Stress Reaction (CSR), also known as “battle fatigue.” With long surges common in World War II, soldiers became battle weary and exhausted” (Friedman, 2013). It was not until 1980 that the American Psychiatric Association decided to formally add Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-3).

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