Novel Approach to Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
June 27, 2018   

A novel approach to the treatment of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (cr-PTSD) could play a significant role in helping British veterans overcome PTSD, a new Cardiff University research project suggests. The study is seeking treatment-resistant combat veterans.

The two-year study is investigating the effectiveness of a relatively new therapy known as Military Motion Memory Desensitization, or 3MDR. In this trial treatment paradigm, patients walk on a treadmill, while interacting with self-selected emotional images related to their specific trauma displayed on a large screen, while listening to music.

The study, led by Professor Jonathan Bisson of the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine is being conducted on veterans with cr-PTSD to help them learn how to move through the avoidance of painful traumatic memories, by literally moving toward them.

Exposure therapy and other psychological therapies, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can be very effective; however, these types of therapies are typically met with much resistance from patients because reliving the traumatic memories can be very painful. The novel approach of combining physical movement with 3MDR allows patients to regain a sense of control over their well-being and their traumatic memories. The researchers hope that the combination of the exposure to traumatic memories within the context walking will eliminate cognitive avoidance, which is a coping strategy that is detrimental to recovery for patients with PTSD. Researchers are regularly assessing symptoms of PTSD throughout the duration of the study. Preliminary results suggest that 3MDR may be an effective treatment for cr-PTSD in British military veterans.

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For more on PTSD:

This Month in Psychopharmacology: Anxiety/Stress-Related Disorders
The WMDs of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Wellness, Medications, and Detox
An Update on Available and Effective Treatment Strategies (Member only)