Australian PTSD research creates new world-class therapy

A partnership between DVA, the Department of Defence and Phoenix Australia has led to world-first research and implementation of an innovative new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This treatment is now available for all Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling Service clients with PTSD.

The Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery (RESTORE) Trial investigated a new method of delivering PTSD treatment through an intensive form of exposure therapy delivered within a two-week period.

The results show this new method of treatment to be as effective as standard treatment while potentially offering additional lifestyle benefits.

Open Arms National Manager Grant Pegg said this is a very exciting development in the treatment of PTSD.

‘Standard prolonged exposure therapy, usually delivered over 10 to 12 weeks, systematically and safely assists the person with PTSD address their memories of the events that underlie their condition,’ he said. ‘However, it can be difficult for veterans to commit to treatment over a three-month period, especially when transitioning from the military.’

The RESTORE Trial found the new intensive two-week method is equally effective in treating PTSD, but participants are nearly four times less likely to drop out of therapy compared with those who receive the regular treatment.

This world-class, intensive therapy involves treating PTSD with ten sessions over a two-week period. The standard therapy involves one treatment per week over a ten-week period. Both treatments are proven to be effective, so people can work with a clinician to determine the method that is best suited to their needs.

‘It’s important for us to be able to offer flexible and effective therapy options that suit individual veteran needs,’ Dr Pegg said. PTSD is a serious and often disabling mental disorder, affecting serving and ex-serving personnel at higher rates than the general community.

The long-term impacts of PTSD can be devastating on an individual’s overall wellbeing, their family life as well as their ability to maintain social relationships and successful employment.

To find out more, contact Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

Full details about the RESTORE trial, including associated findings, are published in Psychological Medicine.