PTSD: Misconceptions and the Latest Treatments

Bret S. Stetka, MD; Sonya Norman, PhD


March 10, 2017

In This Article

Medscape recently interviewed Dr Sonya Norman, director of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Consultation Program, run by the executive branch of the National Center for PTSD, about common misconceptions related to PTSD and the latest treatments for the condition.

Medscape: Can you tell us about the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for PTSD and your role within it?

Dr Norman: At the National Center for PTSD, we do research to better understand PTSD and how to treat it, and we develop educational materials and resources regarding PTSD. We have a great many resources and information for the general public, for people with PTSD and their family members, and for professionals treating PTSD.

All of our resources are available on our website, which has a public section and a professional section. The professional materials help mental health and other professionals have the information they need to treat PTSD, and the section provides training opportunities and resources. In the public section, there are a lot of materials that that cover questions like, "What is PTSD? What is trauma? Are there treatments, and what are they? What are common problems that go along with PTSD? What kind of help is out there?" There's a mix of articles, courses, interactive programs, videos, and whiteboard videos; just a whole slew of materials.

The program I direct—the PTSD Consultation Program—is for healthcare professionals who are treating veterans with PTSD. It allows them to quickly get an answer to a question, whether they're looking for a resource related to PTSD or they want to discuss a specific treatment question related to a veteran they're seeing. We have expert psychologists, psychiatrists, and pharmacists who talk with healthcare professionals over email or by phone, depending on their preference. Our consultants can talk them through whatever the problem is, send them relevant information, and connect them with the right people and resources.

Medscape: Do you see patients too, or is it primarily for education and research?

Dr Norman: We don't see patients through the program. We help providers who are seeing patients. We do see patients outside of the consultation program, but still within the VA. It's important that we see patients because we are consulting on patient care.

In association with the National Center for PTSD


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