26 September 2023

New treatment for suffering Veterans

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An innovative new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is being offered to Australian veterans and their families now following a successful research trial by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), Department of Defence and the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.

Welcoming the trial results, Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, Matt Thistlethwaite said the research explored a new form of intensive exposure therapy, and results showed it to be as effective as standard treatment whilst offering greater lifestyle choice for veterans.

“Regrettably, veterans experience PTSD at higher rates than the general population,” Mr Thistlethwaite said.

“The Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery (RESTORE) trial investigated a new method of delivering treatment for PTSD in an intensive two week period,” he said.

“In its standard form, Prolonged Exposure therapy requires weekly treatment for 10 weeks.

Mr Thistlethwaite said it could be difficult for veterans to commit to this period of time, especially when transitioning from the military and seeking employment.

“The RESTORE trial found that intensive exposure therapy is equally as effective as standard therapy, and participants were nearly four times less likely to drop out of therapy compared with those engaged in the 10-week treatment,” the Minister said.

“This treatment offers veterans a shorter method of therapy that may better fit their lifestyle.”

He said the innovative new therapy was now being offered to veterans and their families through DVA’s Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling.

“Open Arms provides high quality, evidence-based, accessible and tailored health care that responds to the unique nature of military service, and its impacts on veterans and their families,” Mr Thistlethwaite said

“Our clinicians are trained in this new therapy and are delivering treatment across the country right now.”

A four-minute video summary of the RESTORE research can be accessed at this PS News link with sound.

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