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Consumer Information and Treatment Resources for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Within Reach but Not Grasp

Bentkover, Judith D. PhD; Aldern, Clayton BS; Lerner, Debra MS, PhD; Richardson, Ellen BA; Chadha, Amrita Bhawani BA; Jacques, Cory BA; Bautista-Saeyan, Sheyda BA

doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000056

In the context of multiple treatment options for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a large, growing need for consumer information regarding accessible and effective treatments, this article identifies and reviews available information and treatment resources. Multiple search strategies identified a suite of information sources, including meta-analyses and systematic reviews of PTSD treatments, the program evaluation and implementation literature, the economics literature, Internet sites, and other resources for veteran and civilian consumers. Resources were evaluated with regard to their target audiences, depth and breadth of treatment options covered, nature of the information provided, and accessibility to consumers. A large body of research covers the various treatments and sets of treatment guidelines for PTSD. Despite the extensive scientific information targeted at providers and researchers, the quality, accessibility, and usability of the published research varies widely. The Veterans Health Administration provides the most extensive information on various treatment options and where to obtain treatment within that system. Publicly available websites provide information on multiple treatment options, but information to help nonveterans navigate treatment choices is limited. Published reports of PTSD program-evaluation and implementation studies are sparse. Information on PTSD treatment options available to consumers can be overwhelming and confusing, which places an unnecessary burden on an already vulnerable group of patients and their families. Exacerbating the situation is the shortage of program-evaluation and implementation research. The dearth of centralized and accessible information related to nonveteran PTSD patient groups needs to be addressed.

From the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice, School of Public Health (Dr. Bentkover), Departments of Neuroscience (Mr. Aldern) and Community Health (Ms. Richardson), and Public Health Program (Ms. Chadha), Alpert Medical School, and Program in Health and Human Biology (Ms. Bautista-Saeyan), Brown University; School of Medicine (Dr. Lerner) and Department of Psychology (Mr. Jacques), Tufts University.

Supported, in part, by One Mind for Research and the Tug McGraw Foundation.

Original manuscript received 24 February 2014; revised manuscript received 6 June 2014, accepted for publication subject to revision 8 July 2014; revised manuscript received 12 July 2014.

Correspondence: Judith D. Bentkover, PhD, Brown University Box g - S121, 121 S. Main St., Providence, RI 02912. Email:

© 2015 President and Fellows of Harvard College
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