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USF Study Shows Promising Treatment For PTSD

USF’s College of Nursing has found a treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A recent study published in the June 18th edition of Behavioral Sciences showed that accelerated resolution therapy (ART) reduces symptoms of PTSD such as depression and anxiety.

ART involves the patient talking about a traumatic event while focusing on the patient’s eye movements as the information is communicated. The eye movements that the patient demonstrates as they re-live the trauma helps process the information of the traumatic event. ART minimizes or eliminates the physiological response associated with traumatic memories, and then replaces those traumatic memories with other images.

The USF study included both civilian and veteran participants ages 21 to 60 in the Tampa Bay region. USF’s College of Nursing received $2.1 million from the Department of Defense to study emotional problems experienced by U.S. veterans. For the PTSD project, more civilians were studied as researchers wanted to test the therapy before introducing it to veterans.

“As principal investigator of this award, I wanted to have a track record and early evaluation of accelerated resolution therapy prior to studying it in veterans exposed to combat-related trauma,” says Dr. Kevin Kip, professor and executive director of USF’s College of Nursing Research Center,

Kip says he will use the information gained from the study to move forward with more research geared toward veterans.

“We are writing several grants to continue the study of accelerated resolution therapy,” Kip says. “This includes seeking several hundred veterans to examine which characteristics predict the best treatment response, and aiming to conduct mechanistic studies as to how eye movements used in accelerated resolution therapy affect the brain, as well as what neurological changes occur with use of the voluntary image replacement technique.”

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Dr. Kevin Kip, USF College of Nursing
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