What Works for PTSD

For the interactive version click here.

By Alexandra Carmichael, Co-Founder of CureTogether

Some of the most popular treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are not necessarily the most effective, according to a new study by CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments.

People in the study said they found some treatments without drugs — including art therapy and exercise — were the most effective. Conversely some popular treatments such as the use of antidepressants, were among the least effective, according to the study.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is often associated with combat veterans, but the disorder can occur in anyone who has experienced or seen a traumatic event. Finding the right treatment can be particularly difficult, so CureTogether asked people suffering from PTSD to rate the effectiveness of different treatments.

Rated Most Effective by People with PTSD
1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
2. Avoid certain places
3. Avoid certain noises
4. Art therapy
5. Exercise
6. Use clear shower curtain
7. Psychotherapy
8. Medical marijuana
9. Anti-anxiety medication
10. Daily routine

CureTogether’s study compiled responses from 531 people with PTSD, who rated the effectiveness of 31 different treatments.

Among the most helpful treatments were Cognitive Behavior Therapy, avoiding places and noises that trigger symptoms, art therapy, and exercise. Also highly effective for those in the study were having a daily routine and participating in support groups. Also on the list was the use of a clear shower curtain, which addresses the fear some have of hidden threats. In contrast people in the study said anti-depressants and Exposure Therapy were not as effective.

Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with PTSD treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the PTSD study.

This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether present its findings just as they are – patient-reported data – to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in PTSD. Thank you!