U.S. Department of Defense approves USF Nursing to extend its ART study nationwide to military across all branches of service
Researchers at the University of South Florida College of Nursing have shown that brief treatments with Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) substantially reduce symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including, depression, anxiety, sleep dysfunction and other physical and psychological symptoms. The findings of this first study of ART appear in an on-line article published June 18, 2012 in the journal Behavioral Sciences.
ART is being studied as an alternative to traditional PTSD treatments that use drugs or lengthy therapy sessions. The talk therapy uses back-and-forth eye movements as the patient fluctuates between talking about a traumatic scene, and using the eye movements to help process that information to integrate the memories from traumatic events. The two major components of ART include minimizing or eliminating physiological response associated traumatic memories, and re-envisioning painful or disturbing experiences with a novel technique known as Voluntary Image Replacement.
For the initial study, researchers recruited 80 adult veterans and civilians, ages 21 to 60, in the Tampa Bay area. Before receiving ART, patients were tested for symptoms of PTSD and depression, with the vast majority testing positive, 80 percent for PTSD and 90 percent for depression. After treatment using ART, the research team reported a dramatic reversal in symptoms. In as few as one to four sessions, those showing symptoms had decreased to only 17 percent for PTSD and 28 percent for depression. Improvements were also seen in trauma-related growth and self-compassion in just one to four treatments.
“From this initial assessment, ART appears to be a brief, safe, and effective treatment for symptoms of PTSD,” the report concludes.“Early results are very promising,” said principal investigator Kevin E. Kip, Ph.D. FAHA, professor and executive director of the USF College of Nursing Research Center. “Most people who came in to be treated had very high scores for PTSD, and after treatment, the majority had very large reductions. The treatment also reduced other symptoms, like depression, as well as improved sleep.”
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