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Lori Zoellner’s study on PTSD treatment and patient choice is featured in this UW News story.

PTSD symptoms improve when patient chooses form of treatment, study shows

UW News

A multiyear clinical trial comparing medication and mental health counseling in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder shows that patients who chose their form of treatment — whether drugs or therapy — improved more than those who were simply prescribed one or the other regardless of the patient’s preference.

The study, led by the University of Washington and Case Western Reserve University, was conducted at outpatient clinics in Seattle and Cleveland. It found that both a medication — Sertraline, marketed as Zoloft — and a specific form a therapy known as prolonged exposure were effective in reducing PTSD symptoms during the course of treatment, with improvements maintained at least two years later. But patients who received their choice between the two possible treatments showed greater reduction in symptoms, were more apt to stick to their treatment program and even lost their PTSD diagnosis over time.

The study, published Oct. 19 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is the first large-scale trial of hundreds of PTSD patients, including veterans and survivors of sexual assault, to measure whether patient preference in the course of treatment impacts the effectiveness of a type of  cognitive behavioral therapy and use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant often prescribed for PTSD.

“In any form of health care, when receiving a recommendation from a provider, patients may or may not be given a choice of approaches to address their problems,” said the study’s lead author,  Lori Zoellner, a UW professor of psychology and director of the Center for Anxiety & Traumatic Stress. “This research suggests that prolonged exposure and Sertraline are both good, evidence-based options for PTSD treatment — and that providing information to make an informed choice enhances long-term outcomes.”

 

Read the entire article here.