PTSD Awareness Day: The Future of Treatment

Post-traumatic stress order affects approximately 7.7 million adults in the United States, but it is critical to remember that there are effective treatments and more are on the way. Last year in this space, Dana Alliance member Kerry Ressler said we understand the neural circuitry behind PTSD well enough that we can pinpoint where it starts. “It’s solvable,” he said.

Ressler, whose work was recently featured in an Emory Medicine article, has combatted fearful memories with drugs as well as extinction training immediately after a trauma. Alliance member Liz Phelps has worked on modifying fear-related memories through extinction training as well. Another DABI member, Jordan Grafman, who was interviewed here two years ago, recently said that “all memories are modifiable, so the lesson is to take the PTSD memory and figure out a way to modify it through new associations with positive acts.”

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Treating Post-Traumatic Stress: Public Briefing

Through the support of the Dana Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is hosting a public luncheon briefing on treating post-traumatic stress.

Post-traumatic stress (PTS) or post-traumatic stress disorder can afflict individuals after a trauma or life-threatening event. It affects more than five million adults per year and is a particular concern for the military. Come hear about how PTS affects service members and veterans and how researchers are treating PTS through different styles of therapy:

Friday, May 9, 2014
12:00-1:30 p.m.
2168 Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC

The Honorable Chaka Fattah, D-PA
General Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army (Retired), CEO, One Mind
Kathleen Chard, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati
JoAnn Difede, PhD, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College
Moderator Alan Leshner, PhD, CEO of AAAS

For questions, please contact Sara Spizzirri at 202-326-6789 or by email at

The Community Service Approach to PTSD in Recent Veterans

After a day of Nathan’s hot dogs, American flags and fireworks, I was sitting at home watching ESPN’s Sportscenter as July Fourth turned into July Fifth. The sports channel put together a heartwarming tribute piece on returning US soldiers surprising their families at different sports venues around the country. After around 50 emotional reunion clips, I was on the verge of tears. However, what these videos did not show was the more trying weeks and months that often follow these joyful reunions.

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PTSD Interview: Kerry Ressler

Dana Alliance member Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., became interested in post-traumatic stress disorder not because he believed it posed the greatest challenge for psychiatrists, but because he felt they were close to answers. “It’s the area in psychiatry that we best understand the neural circuitry and it’s the only mental disorder that we [can pinpoint] where it starts,” he says. “It’s solvable.”

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NIMH Twitter Chat on PTSD Tomorrow

To honor National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day, tomorrow (June 27) at 11am (EST), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is holding a Twitter chat with Farris Tuma, Sc.D., chief of the NIMH Traumatic Stress Research Program, about the realities of PTSD. You can follow the one-hour discussion using #NIMHchats.

For more information on PTSD, look for our interview with Dana Alliance member and PTSD expert Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., next week on this blog.

–Ann L. Whitman

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