PTSD: The Futile Search for the “Quick Fix”

February 26, 2013 / no comments

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My new article on PTSD just appeared as a Guest Blog on Scientific American’s web site.  Please check it out.  Here’s the first paragraph as a teaser:

A few weeks ago an article in the Scientific American Twitter stream caught my eye.  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) once again debuted as a “promising new treatment” for PTSD.  EMDR, which has been repeatedly called “promising” over the last two decades, works only about as well for PTSD as other psychological treatment modalities with which it competes, primarily cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy.  These so-called trauma focused treatments (TFT) all garner similar results. TFT have large effects in clinical trials, with two important caveats: 1) the enthusiasm of their various advocates bias the study results towards the treatment the researchers prefer; and, 2) they are effective for a significant number of carefully selected PTSD patients. The sad truth, however, is that current short-term treatments are not the solution for most patients with PTSD. Trial criteria often exclude those with comorbid disorders, multiple traumas, complex PTSD, and suicidal ideation, among others.  Even when they are included, comorbid patients drop out of treatment studies at a much higher rate than those with simple PTSD, a problem that has implications for clinical practice….

The heart of the argument is that short term treatments are not effective for the vast majority of those with PTSD, and that violence prevention is the only real cure.

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One in Five Women in the US Has Been Raped: The War on Women

January 27, 2013 / no comments

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This is a slightly revised version of an essay I published on DailyKos.

The results of the CDC’s National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey for 2010. The figures are stunning:

  • 35.6% of women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner
  • 24.3% of women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner
  • 18.3% of American women have been raped in their lifetime.
  • 51.1% of those rapes are by an intimate partner
  • 40.8% are by an acquaintance
  • 79.6% of rapes took place before women were 25
  • 42.2% of rapes took place before women were 18
  • 16.2% of women have been victimized by stalkers
  • 66.2% of stalkings were carried out by former partners
  • Across all types of violence, the majority of both female and male victims reported experiencing violence from one perpetrator.
  • Across all types of violence, the majority of female victims reported that their perpetrators were male.
  • Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators. Nearly half of stalking victimizations against males were also perpetrated by males. Perpetrators of other forms of violence against males were mostly female.
  • 1.4% of American men have been raped in their lifetime. Most of them were raped by other men. 44% of men who were stalked were targeted by other men.
  • 4.8% of American men reported being forced to penetrate someone else.

There’s a war being waged against American women, and we’re taking casualties every single day. And now the Republicans want to force us to carry rapist’s babies to term. Continue Reading…

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