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Best Treatment Practices for PTSD Deemed “Uncertain”

By Kimberly Tyler

According to a recent press release from the non-profit organization The National Academies, a report will soon be published describing the lack of conclusive clinical data for effective treatment solutions for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The report, titled “Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Assessment of the Evidence” provides reviews of research studies and clinical trials published on the treatment for PTSD, and gives an evaluation of their findings. 

The National Academies report was sponsored by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and authored by the Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  This committee is positioned within the Board of Population and Health and Public Practice, one of eight boards formulated with the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is one of four agencies that comprise The National Academies charter.

I know that this is a long trail of organizations and committees to follow.  In order to form a basis for evaluating the legitimacy for such study findings, however, it is essential to understand the source of the study, its sponsors, and for whom such studies are generated.  There are so many reporting agencies out there, and it is sometimes difficult to assess which studies reflect accurate findings.  The level of accuracy is often, in turn, a reflection of an organization’s objectives.

The National Academies

In 1863, Congress established the concept of The National Academies, with the goal of creating an organization outside the sphere of political influence to generate unbiased data.  The organization comprised leading authorities in the field, who conducted research and presented their findings to policymakers.  Starting in 1916, and as a result of the government’s increasing need for accurate data, the organization was split into four subdivisions: The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), The National Research Council (NRC), The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  The report discussed here was published by the IOM.

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