Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety

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CTSA in the News

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Notable News

Treatment for PTSD Does Not Appear to Increase Risk of Drinking Among Individuals With Alcohol Dependence and PTSD

From the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) media release:

In a trial that included patients with alcohol dependence and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), treatment with the drug naltrexone resulted in a decrease in the percentage of days drinking while use of the PTSD treatment, prolonged exposure therapy, was not associated with increased drinking or alcohol craving, according to a study in the August 7 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence/human rights.

From the article:

“Six months after the end of treatment, participants in all 4 groups had increases in percentage of days drinking. However, those in the prolonged exposure therapy plus naltrexone group had the smallest increases.”

“Importantly, our findings indicated that prolonged exposure therapy was not associated with increased drinking or alcohol craving, a concern that has been voiced by some investigators. In fact, reduction in PTSD severity and drinking was evident for all 4 treatment groups. This finding contradicts the common view that trauma-focused therapy is contraindicated for individuals with alcohol dependence and PTSD, because it may exacerbate PTSD symptoms and thereby lead to increased alcohol use.”

“… our trial demonstrates that (l) patients with comorbid alcohol dependence and PTSD benefit from naltrexone treatment; (2) prolonged exposure therapy is not associated with exacerbation of alcohol dependence; and (3) combined treatment with naltrexone and prolonged exposure therapy may decrease the rate of relapse of alcohol dependence for up to 6 months after treatment discontinuation,” the researchers conclude.

 

Click here to access the JAMA article:

Foa EB, Yusko DA, McLean CP, et al. Concurrent Naltrexone and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Patients With Comorbid Alcohol Dependence and PTSD: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA.2013;310(5):488-495. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8268.

 

Click here to listen to the JAMA Podcast, in which Dr. Edna Foa discussed the main findings and implications of this new study. 

 

Torment's Intensive Carer

Philadelphia Inquirer
Dr. Edna Foa, director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, is an international expert in treating PTSD and was profiled on the front page of Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer on January 2, 2011. Read the article Torment's Intensive Carer in the Philadelphia Inquirer...


Honors for Dr. Edna B. Foa

2011: Congratulations to Dr. Edna B. Foa who was the first recipient of the International OCD Foundation's Outstanding Career Award.

2010: Congratulations to Dr. Edna B. Foa for receiving this year's Award from Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Trauma Psychology at the APA Convention in San Diego in August.

2010: Edna B. Foa, Ph.D. was named one of TIME Magazine's "TIME 100" for 2010, the magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.  Dr. Foa was cited for her development of Prolonged Exposure (PE) for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. The recent dramatic increase of PTSD suffers in the U.S. and internationally, following increased terror attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and numerous natural disasters, has resulted in urgent need to disseminate PE to mental health professionals. PE has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for use in treating returning combat veterans, as well as by governments and private health facilities around the world. Dr. Foa was included as one of 25 influential "Thinkers" in Time's list - the survey also names influential "Leaders," "Heroes," and "Artists."

2009: Congratulations to Dr. Edna B. Foa for receiving this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). She will be presented with this award at the ABCT annual conference in New York in November, 2009.


Change of Mind

Wall Street Journal
Edna B. Foa, Ph.D. was quoted in a March 15, 2010 Wall Street Journal article, which looked into new techniques for altering memories, like exposure treatment, that are raising possibilities of one day treating people who suffer from phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other anxiety-related conditions.


Trauma Can Be Successfully Treated

Elle Magazine
Edna B. Foa, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, discusses the use of prolonged exposure as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. September 2009 article.


Sexual Trauma Haunts Many Female Vets

US News & World Report
Edna B. Foa, PhD, professor of psychiatry, speaks with HealthDay News (posted by USNews.com) about a study which found 1 in 7 female veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who sought medical care were victims of sexual trauma during their service. Read the HealthDay/US News article.


Training in Philadelphia at the CTSA

In April 2010, the CTSA conducted a 4-week training workshop for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The aim of the training was to provide mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, with the skills of conducting Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy with trauma survivors who suffer from chronic PTSD.

In September 2009, the CTSA conducted a 4-day OCD training workshop for mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. The aim of the training is to provide these professionals with skills to treat patients suffering from OCD using Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP).  


Helping Armed Forces

In February 2010, Dr. Foa conducted a 4-day training session at the Ottawa Veterans Administration to provide VA mental health professionals with the skills to help veterans with PTSD using Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy. She also conducted this training for the US Army in Fort Hood in Texas.


Training in Israel

Dr. Foa has conducted several training workshops in Tel Aviv, Israel. The aim of the training is to provide mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, with the skills of conducting PE with trauma survivors who suffer from chronic PTSD, such as combat veterans and terror-attack survivors.