Health Team

Study: Anti-psychotic ineffective for veterans' PTSD

Posted August 2, 2011

Post-traumatic stress disorder is the most common and costly psychiatric condition that affects veterans.

Therapies and medications are used to manage the symptoms, but researchers have found that a commonly prescribed anti-psychotic drug called Risperidone is not effective for many veterans.

Researchers tested the effectiveness of Risperidone – often used along with the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft – in reducing PTSD symptoms in a group of 267 veterans from 23 VA medical centers.

The study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that adding Risperidone to other medications didn't seem to help these patients.

"It shows us that just because a medication can be widely prescribed, it doesn't mean necessarily that it's really helpful overall for the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder," said Dr. John H. Krystal with the Veteran Affairs National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Researchers also say some study participants reported side effects that included weight gain and drowsiness after taking Risperidone.

Risperidone Study: Anti-psychotic ineffective for veterans' PTSD

There are still other treatments and medications that can help with PTSD. They have proven successful for Anthony Dozier, who served in Operation Desert Storm.

He started experiencing symptoms shortly after returning home from war.

"It was a huge void," he said. "It was almost like I didn't fit into this life that I came back to."

The former drill sergeant faced a long, hard road.

"I didn't realize what was going on with me mentally at the time, because I'm a soldier and I can fix anything," Dozier said.

He couldn't fix his PTSD, but treatment with a therapist and medications have helped him.

Dozier says he is now happy and enjoying a good relationship. He says recovering from PTSD is possible.

"It never goes away, but you can live, like I do now, a healthy and prosperous life," Dozier said.


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  • NC Reader Aug 9, 2011

    I know WWII veterans who still won't talk about their wartime experiences -- and some who break down and cry on Memorial Day, Veterans' Day, and D-Day. My heart aches for those men and women. I want to do something to ease their pain, so I just listen when they want to talk and thank them. There is no way I can fully understand the horrors they've seen.

  • Old-Guy Aug 5, 2011

    The best way to reduce PTSD is to stop sending troops into stupid unnecessary dangers. -- Vietnam Vet.

  • cass122 Aug 4, 2011

    The only cure for PTSD is socialization! For us Americans to show these soldiers how much we appreciate what they do. How hard is it to say "Thank you" ? That's all they want and need!

  • hollylama Aug 3, 2011

    The fact that someone would suggest treating PTSD with an anti-psychotic is laughable. Thats assuming that people with PTSD are suffering from some type of psychosis. Obviously the people who came up with this study have never been in a war situation.

  • hollylama Aug 3, 2011

    Joco...I wish I could fan you. Here here. Its really not about treatment but masking the issue by making it irrelevant in the mind.

  • Arapaloosa Aug 3, 2011

    I still don't understand the concept of using a chemical to treat a non-chemical issue.

  • See Chart Aug 3, 2011

    What would in my opinion work better is to learn through
    meditation to detach from our mental noise and feelings of
    fear ,guilt and remorse and to return to the time present of
    life's ongoing wonders. It's to far out to do of course to
    treat PTSD this way in this country what with the emphasis
    on removing"bad thoughts" by medicine and ECT but meditation
    and learning self forgiveness about untoward events from the past,is a cure.