Israel-U.S. study: early PTSD treatment no guarantee for lasting recovery

Hadassah University Medical Center. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Some patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who undergo early psychological or drug treatment will not necessarily recover over the long run, according to a joint study by Israel’s Hadassah University Medical Center and New York University’s (NYU) Langone Medical Center.

Many people suffering from PTSD do recover after early treatment, but a good number are still affected by the condition for years, explained Arieh Shalev, a professor at Langone, in the publication of the study by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“We assume that people living in an otherwise stable environment would have better conditions for long-term recovery than individuals who experience lengthy wars or live in a constant state of violence,” said Shalev, who is also a co-director of NYU Langone’s Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center.

“This might explain part of their spontaneous recovery without initial treatment. However, what this study tells us at its core is that there is a significant public health challenge ahead. Individuals continually expressing initial PTSD symptoms, and who are resistant to early treatment, should be the focus of future research,” Shalev added. 

Shalev encouraged future research of PTSD focused on those “who remain chronically distressed and disabled and require care long after their traumatic incident.”

Israel, given its history of wars and terrorism, has a substantial number of civilians and soldiers suffering from PTSD. While early treatment is offered in Israel, there is no longterm follow-up treatment.

Posted on April 14, 2016 .