Australian Defence Force Veterans to Get New PTSD Treatment
Defence force veterans will be able to access a new form of accelerated treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following Australia-first research.
The treatment will allow for exposure therapy for veterans to take place over an intensive two-week period, rather than the standard weekly treatment over 10 weeks.
Research into Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery, also known as RESTORE, found it was equally effective as standard therapy, with veterans taking part being less likely to drop out.
The research emerged from a partnership between the Department of Defence, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.
Assistant Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Thistlethwaite said the high rates of PTSD among former ADF members made the research even more critical.
“We are committed to offering veterans experiencing PTSD the best range of treatments possible,” he said.
“This treatment offers veterans a shorter method of therapy that may better fit their lifestyle.”
Research into the RESTORE treatment found participants were four times less likely to drop out of therapy compared to those who were taking part in treatment over a traditional time frame.
The treatment for PTSD will be offered through the veteran and families counselling service Open Arms.
“Open Arms provides high quality, evidence-based, accessible and tailored health care that responds to the unique nature of military service, and its impacts on veterans and their families,” Thistlethwaite said.
“Our clinicians are trained in this new therapy and are delivering treatment across the country right now.”
The findings of the research, published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine, follows the release of the interim royal commission report into veteran suicide.
The report called for an overhaul of the compensation claim system for veterans, with long processing times being linked to increased suicide among veterans.
A deadline of March 31, 2024 has been given to clear the backlog of 42,000 claims.
The report found the culture within defence also contributed to a heightened risk of suicide.
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