Telemedicine sessions at home can be a viable way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in active-duty military personnel, according to a preliminary study published at Telemedicine and e-Health.
The study involved 10 previously deployed soldiers who agreed to complete eight sessions of behavioral activation therapy, a well-established treatment for depression, by telemedicine. All had experienced trauma during deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan.
During a pre-treatment session, a member of the research staff came to each soldier's home to familiarize him or her with the equipment and check the network connection--they used their own Internet service.
Two participants dropped out of the study, saying sessions took too much time away from their Army duties. One dropout, however, could be related to technical difficulties that soldier experienced, according to the paper.
Those who completed all eight sessions reported high overall satisfaction with the treatment.
The study used the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), along with the self-report battery, completed at the baseline, mid-treatment, post-treatment, and three-month post-treatment assessments.
The research found clinically significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity and depression symptoms. There were no adverse events requiring activation of emergency safety procedures.
However, there were technical problems associated with the network, with some sessions conducted by telephone instead, according to the report. Researchers say the optimal technical infrastructure needs to be determined to support expansion of videoconferencing capabilities to the home.
A previous study of PTSD treatment through telemedicine sessions at VA outpatient clinics showed the method effective for treating rural veterans. And other VA research has found interest high among veterans for outpatient treatment in use of computerized psychotherapies.
To learn more:
- read the research