Telemedicine is just as effective for PTSD as in-person therapy

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For veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, in-person therapy may not be the only treatment option, according to Reuters.

As part of a recent study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy, researchers studied 132 veterans, all of whom were diagnosed with PTSD, measuring symptom severity and depression. The veterans were split into two groups. The veterans in one group received in-person therapy sessions at a VA medical center, while the veterans in the other group received therapy at home via video conferencing software on computers or smartphones.

The researchers assessed the veterans' symptom severity and depression levels after three months and six months of treatment.

At both time periods, the PTSD symptom severity levels of the veterans in the telemedicine treatment group were similar to those in the in-person treatment group. The depression levels were lower for the telemedicine patients after three months, but levels evened out by six months.

However, approximately 33 percent of the telemedicine-treated group and 19 percent of the in-person treatment group didn't complete the counseling program.

Still, the effectiveness of telemedicine treatment remains. "The best treatment for PTSD, with the most empirical support, can be delivered at no loss of effectiveness directly into a veteran's home rather than having the veteran come into the clinic," said Ron Acierno, PhD, the study's lead author.

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