New Study Shows Dramatic Reduction of PTSD in 86% of Veterans
Novel Therapy Produces “Highly Significant” Results
Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine
SANTA ROSA, CA. In a randomized controlled study (the gold standard of scientific research) of 59 U.S. veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), six hour-long sessions of a treatment method called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) resulted in a highly significant reduction of their symptoms. An impressive 86% of those receiving the treatment dropped from the category of clinical (severe) PTSD to the category of subclinical PTSD.
This is the best result for PTSD ever obtained in a clinical trial of any therapy.
The study has been published in the prestigious Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, the oldest peer-reviewed psychiatry journal in North America. It offers hope to the estimated 500,000 U.S. veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from PTSD, as well as the 479,000 diagnosed Vietnam veterans.
More than 80% of PTSD sufferers meet diagnostic criteria for other psychological disorders as well, and all of the veterans in this study had clinical scores for anxiety and depression, as well as PTSD. They also had high levels of physical symptoms like pain and insomnia going into the study, but much lower levels after six EFT sessions.
Study lead investigator Dawson Church, PhD, of the Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine in Santa Rosa, California, explains that “highly significant” is a scientific term for the p value in the study, which was .0001. That means that there is only one possibility in ten thousand that the results were due to chance.
EFT is an innovative technique that pairs the recall of traumatic memories (a form of exposure therapy, a common method in psychology) with physical stimulation of specific points on the body to discharge stress (as identified by thousands of years of use in acupuncture).
The veterans in the study were retested after 3 months and again after 6 months, and they remained stable. PTSD did not return in the 86% of veterans who moved from clinical to subclinical symptom levels.
Two other randomized controlled trials of EFT have shown similar results for PTSD. EFT has met many of the criteria for an “empirically validated treatment” published by the Clinical Psychology division of the American Psychological Association (APA).
Several congressmen have advocated EFT to Secretary for Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. The Veterans Administration (VA) does not currently offer EFT to patients; Senator Chuck Schumer called on it to change, saying, “The VA cannot have this ‘see no evil hear no evil’ attitude. If they think the treatment works, they ought to give it to people.”