Apr. 11, 2013 —
Science Daily/Association for Psychological Science
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects nearly 8 million adults in any given year, federal statistics show. Fortunately, clinical research has identified certain psychological interventions that effectively ameliorate the symptoms of PTSD. But most people struggling with PTSD don't receive those treatments, according to a new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
Recent history offers prime examples of that trend. More than 273,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder over the past decade, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that at least one-third of residents in the path of Hurricane Katrina suffered some form of post-traumatic stress after the 2005 storm. And in the two months following last year's tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, more than 16 percent of Newtown, Connecticut's police force had missed work because of PTSD-related issues, according to news reports.
"Not counting traumatic events that are experienced by individuals as opposed to entire populations, the number of people who need help for their PTSD and related symptoms is mind boggling," Foa and her co-authors write. "Thus PTSD treatment researchers are acutely aware of the tremendous need to disseminate effective treatments widely such that patients have access to them, and are also aware of the challenges to successfully meet this need."