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Antipsychotics being considered for military-related PTSD

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Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the leading psychiatric conditions plaguing the life of many military veterans.

While it’s difficult to treat, there are several options to improve anxious symptoms brought forth by PTSD; talk therapy and antidepressant drugs have always been the only two options for veterans.

However, as the Military Times reported, antipsychotics are now garnishing more attention among PTSD sufferers who feel that therapy or antidepressants do not provide effectivity.

There are only two medications approved by the Federal and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD, among other anxiety disorders, and they are paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft).

And because there are so few drugs to try, antipsychotics have received special attention over the past couple of years.

Despite guidelines at the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments warning about using antipsychotics as first-line treatment, former military soldiers are doing it anyway, especially for severe cases.

In the past, clinical studies of antipsychotics have provided good results, while others, specifically utilizing the drug risperidone, shown negative progress.

With antipsychotics being the center of debates among clinical psychologists who treat PTSD, clinical researchers decided to test out the drug class and find out just how effective are them.

In a Veterans Affairs study, 88 patients, all former military soldiers, were randomly administered either a placebo or the antipsychotic drug known as quetiapine (Seroquel).

After three months, analysts found a significant improvement in symptoms that triggered re-experiencing traumatic events or ‘flashbacks.’

In addition, depressive symptoms were also improved after taking a considerable dosage of quetiapine (depression is a common symptom of PTSD).

With this research, antipsychotics are starting to look like the future ‘go-to’ medication for PTSD sufferers. However, more tests need to be made, as way too many psychiatrists hang their lab coats at the idea that only antidepressants are effective.

Jose Florez is the founder of Mental Daily, a psychology blog and news aggregator. His previous work has appeared in Psychology Today, HuffPost, Glamour, Lifehack, and others.