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Pioneering treatments for irritable bowel syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder

ALBANY, N.Y. -- University at Albany researchers are pioneering more accessible, cost-effective treatment programs for two of the nation's common ailments, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Rather than relying on the common face-to-face, therapist-patient relationships, the unique treatments are self-managed, with the patient undertaking much of the therapy through reading material, structured homework, and diagnostic tools.

"It's the wave of the future," says doctoral research supervisor Edward B. Blanchard, director of the UAlbany Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders. "The treatment is very accessible to people who have limited mobility or limited access to areas where therapists tend to locate, such as cities. It's self-managed and self-paced, and less expensive than traditional treatment. And it's done under the trained eye of a clinician, who can help assess progress."

Therapy for Crash Victims

Doctoral student Jill Sabsevitz is developing a treatment program for sufferers of PTSD specifically related to the aftermath of motor vehicle accidents (MVA). Some studies suggest that 45 percent of accident survivors who seek medical attention will develop PTSD within one year of the event, and an additional 15 to 30 percent will develop less overt, subclinical levels of PTSD. Sabsevitz' treatment utilizes the book Coping With Your Crash, by Blanchard and Edward Hickling, as the focal point of the self-managed program. After an initial consultation and assessment with a therapist, patients undergo a series of exercises described in the book designed to overcome feelings of anxiety, anger, vulnerability, and depression, as well as steps such as the incorporation of pleasant events into the daily routine. The patient mails in "homework" to his therapist, who then gives the okay for advancing to the next step. The last step is self-assessment, in conjunction with a trained therapist.

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Contact: Karl Luntta
kluntta@uamail.albany.edu
518-437-4980
University at Albany
3-Mar-2004


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