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PTSD: The futile search for the ‘quick fix’

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by Scientific American to be a guest blogger on the subject of PTSD. The result is now online: “PTSD: The Futile Search for the ‘Quick Fix’. Preventive measures, like the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) are the only cure for PTSD.” For a while I’ve been researching the sequel to Worlds of Hurt, and I’ve recently hit critical mass, so the essays are going to start flowing.

The Scientific American guest blog kicks off a series on the limitations of current PTSD research and treatments, and the importance of prevention (which I believe is the only real “cure”).

The timing of the essay was good, since the fight to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act is currently underway — a form of prevention that definitely works.

In the article I make several points, and accompany them with a wealth of linked supporting evidence:

1. Clinical tests of current treatments test their effectiveness on patients who do not represent the majority of those who suffer from PTSD.

2. The weight of powerful institutions is behind the push for short-term treatments: the military, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies.

3. Most people who have PTSD also have other hard-to-cure disorders like substance abuse, depression and anxiety disorders  These have fluctuating symptoms that require long-term case management, rather than a ‘quick fix’ revolving door policy.

4. There is no way to prevent PTSD without preventing violence in the first place. We need to fund violence prevention ...