Launch of the PTSD-Repository
In recognition of National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day, the VA's National Center for PTSD -- a congressionally-mandated center of excellence dedicated to PTSD research and education -- has launched the PTSD-Repository. The Repository is a culmination of a two year-long effort to abstract data from over 300 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the treatment of PTSD in adults, conducted between 1988 and 2018. RCTs are studies that assign the participants in the study randomly---by chance---to the treatments being examined. The PTSD-Repository is a platform that hosts the data on the RCTs and a number of resources developed by the National Center.
We created the PTSD-Repository to help people understand what is known about PTSD treatment. Researchers and clinicians have long relied on published meta-analyses and literature reviews to get an understanding of effective treatments. These sources are useful, but they can quickly become outdated and none include all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on PTSD. There hasn’t been a single, comprehensive source of information that can answer questions about all types of interventions or other study details that might matter to researchers or clinicians.
The PTSD-Repository was designed to address these drawbacks. Bringing together data from more than 300 published studies on a wide range of treatments, the PTSD-Repository includes hundreds of variables. The information in it is wide in scope and rich in detail. The audience is also broad: anyone with an interest in PTSD treatment, including Veterans, the general public, clinicians, researchers, educators, policymakers and the media will find useful information in the PTSD-Repository.
Studies in the PTSD-Repository were categorized into six types of treatments: psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, complementary and integrative health (CIH), nonpharmacologic biological, nonpharmacologic cognitive and collaborative care. As shown below, half of the studies in the PTSD Repository are psychotherapy studies (n = 158, 50%). There are fewer, but still many, pharmacotherapy studies (n = 83, 26%).
What have we done with this information?
The PTSD-Repository allows users to access information in a variety of ways. At the most basic level users can read data stories or view the visualizations we’ve created on important topics.
Visualizations-- like those below-- allow us to convey comprehensive information about who and what was studied. The first figure below, Military vs. Community Sample Recruitment, shows the percentage of studies focused on Veterans and other populations. The majority of RCTs (57%) are community-based, and although Veterans and Service members may be included in those samples, military status was not a focus of recruitment. 9% of RCTs are "mixed" samples, meaning both military personnel and civilians are included. The remaining studies are limited to military personnel, with 29% of RCTs specific to Veterans and 3% limited to Active Duty. It is important that studies collect information to understand effective treatments for different populations. Veterans and active duty members who participate in RCTs not only give themselves an opportunity to recover but contribute to research that has the potential to benefit others who need PTSD treatment.
The second visualization illustrates the number of studies where race and ethnicity was reported. You can also click on the categories of reporting to see the treatments used in the studies on the various populations. Understanding race and ethnic differences in PTSD treatment initiation, completion and efficacy is a growing focus in the trauma literature. Therefore, given the importance of this topic, it is disappointing that only 56% of studies included in the PTSD-Repository report race or ethnicity of participants.
To read more about Who Has Been Studied, please visit the PTSD-Repository.
In addition to being able to view our catalogue of stories and visualizations, registered users can also create custom visualizations such as charts, graphs, and other ways to “see” data. These visualizations can be saved and shared with others. Finally, users can download the data for exploration and data analysis. For more on the data and how to use it, please visit the PTSD-Repository.
You can read more about the PTSD-Repository on our About page.
The National Center for PTSD
The mission of the National Center for PTSD is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD, through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.
Resources on PTSD
For additional information and resources about PTSD symptoms, causes, and treatment for Veterans, family members and providers please visit our website. Links to some of our most popular resources are below.
Resources for Veterans, the general public, and family members
- AboutFace: This
website aims to help Veterans and others recognize PTSD, reduce barriers to
care, and motivate them to seek treatment. AboutFace includes videos of
Veterans of multiple service eras speaking about their experiences with PTSD
and treatment. By watching the videos on AboutFace, you can learn about PTSD, explore treatment options, and get advice from others who have been there.
- PTSD Treatment Decision Aid: This online tool is designed to help people diagnosed with PTSD learn about and compare effective treatment options that might be best for them. Users can watch videos that explain how different treatments work and print a comparison chart to share with their provider as they work together to make care decisions. A companion Clinician’s Guide helps providers best use the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid with patients
- Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment (PDF): This quick guide covers PTSD basics, including: symptoms and causes of PTSD, what to do if you think you have PTSD, treatment options, and information about how to locate help. A companion booklet, Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends (PDF), helps those who care about someone with PTSD learn about symptoms, offer support, and manage self-care.
- PTSD Coach Online: This online tool is based upon the PTSD Coach mobile app, offering more options to manage symptoms in a desktop platform. There are 17 interactive tools to help users manage specific problems related to stress and PTSD. Video coaches are available to guide users through each tool.
- Animated Whiteboard Videos: These short, animated videos help explain PTSD and effective treatments. They can be downloaded and easily shared.
- Mobile apps: Our mobile applications (apps) provide self-help, education and support following trauma. We also have treatment companion apps, for use with a health care provider, to make treatment easier. There are apps for iOS and Android devices.
Resources for Providers and Researchers
- Continuing Education: Our online catalogue includes over 50 hours of free training for providers, ranging from brief courses to in-depth curricula. Most offer continuing education credits for multiple disciplines.
- Clinician’s Trauma Update Online (CTU-Online): Published six times a year, this electronic newsletter provides brief updates written by National Center researchers who carefully read and analyze the latest clinically-relevant research from a variety of professional journals. Content on treatment and assessment is emphasized.
- PTSD Research Quarterly: Each issue of this electronic newsletter features a review article on a specific topic related to PTSD written by an expert. Recent topics have included “Patient Engagement in PTSD Treatment,” “Meditation-based Approaches in the Treatment of PTSD,” and “PTSD and Sleep.” Each issue also has a selective bibliography with abstracts and a supplementary list of annotated citations.
- PTSDpubs Database: Formerly the Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress (PILOTS) Database, PTSDpubs is an electronic index to the worldwide literature on PTSD and other mental health consequences of exposure to traumatic events. Users can download the full text of articles written by National Center staff members.
- PTSD Consultation Program: The PTSD Consultation Program offers consultation, continuing education, and other resources to healthcare providers who treat Veterans with PTSD in the community or in VA. Consultation is free and is consistent with evidence-based practices for PTSD and consensus statements such as the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD.
On National PTSD Awareness day, we want to acknowledge those experiencing PTSD and recognize the work being done by researchers, clinicians, and others to learn more about the disorder and potential treatments. We still have a lot to learn, but by creating this resource on what has been studied we can better understand the results and gaps from the research that has been conducted.